Standing in the middle of his work-in-progress restaurant as construction workers get ready to pour concrete while others haul out wheelbarrows full of debris, Chef Alain Giraud is a happy man.
The smile on his face says how much he is looking forward to opening Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades on July 14.
With 44 seats in the dining room and an additional 20 on the sidewalk patio, Maison Giraud will have the feeling of a neighborhood hangout. Intimate, cozy and inviting—that is Giraud's intention.
The floor-to-ceiling glass wall between the front of the restaurant and the covered outdoor patio will create an indoor-outdoor feeling. In the late afternoon, sunlight will flood in from Swarthmore, giving the restaurant a bright, airy feeling. The perfect spot, as Giraud said, “to stop by for an aperitif or glass of rosé on the patio.”
Anchoring the restaurant, the bakery will be open all day, serving coffee, tea, juices and freshly baked pastries, croissants and breads.
On-street metered parking will be available, as well as validated parking behind the building during the day and free parking in the evening.
The restaurant will open weekdays at 7:30 a.m., with casual breakfasts featuring a selection of baked goods—including Giraud's deliciously flaky croissants—cereals, yogurt and freshly squeezed, organic fruit juices.
On Saturdays, a full brunch will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sundays it will begin at 8 a.m. Included on the brunch menu will be all the weekday breakfast items as well as smoked salmon made by Michel Blanchet, many kinds of waffles, bagels and egg dishes.
During the week, the restaurant will serve lunch (starting at 11:30 a.m.) and dinner (beginning at 5:30 p.m.) with snacks available in the afternoon, as well as takeout service. Part of Giraud's plan is to feed Palisadians whether they want to dine out or pick up a meal to eat at home.
About the takeout menu, Giraud explained that he will choose “all the dishes on the menus that make sense to-go. A plump, fresh roast chicken, soup and roast potatoes from the farmers market make sense to take home but not any dish which needs to be crispy. You take French fries to go and you get a soggy string.”
Picking up a to-go order will be easy. Drive to the parking lot entrance and your meal will be waiting for you. Takeout can be ordered by phone or online. The website, under construction, will have all the restaurant's menus.
Because his cooking requires quality, fresh produce, Giraud will shop at the Wednesday Santa Monica and the Sunday Palisades farmers markets. “The idea is, you buy and you cook,” he said.
“I have a lot of relationships with the farmers in Santa Monica because Anisette [his previous restaurant] was one block away. Now I am in front of the Sunday Palisades market. Next time," he joked, "I’ll be in the middle of the market.”
Each month he will feature an ingredient menu for a prix fixe dinner. What that ingredient will be depends on what looks good to Giraud at the market. Maybe it will be asparagus, maybe tomatoes.
Giraud lives with his family in the Miracle Mile area, but says it's “a big commute. I would like to move to the Palisades.”
So why open his new restaurant in the Palisades?
After Anisette closed, he explained, “I was looking for a location for a while. I heard Angelo [the owner of Dante’s] was going to retire. It’s a fantastic space and it is opposite the farmers market.”
Speaking of the Village, he noted, “There are not so many restaurants in the Palisades. I hope there is room for one more. We’re looking to be adopted by the community.”