Mallia shares details on Paris Creperie expansion



Paris Creperie in Coolidge Corner plans on expanding to include permanent outdoor seating space to be ready in the spring of 2022.

Nick Mallia, Director of Operations at the Paris Creperie, discusses the upcoming expansion at their location in Coolidge Corner. In addition to building a French bar in the space where Coolidge Corner Opticians used to be, they are planning to build a permanent outdoor patio. The new renovated space is expected to open in spring of 2022.

When was the expansion first discussed?
We have been talking about it for quite some time. We had a pretty good relationship with the owner of the Coolidge Corner Opticians. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had first started discussing if [the owner] was going to be remaining in business, or we at least wanted to get a plan for how long he was intending on continuing to be in business in his space. Surprisingly, he was planning on retiring sometime soon. So it basically worked out where we wanted to take over the space as soon as he was going to be retired. We made the plan together between the two of us and the landlord to be able to take over the space once he departed.

Can you tell me more about how the new space will be used?
Rather than just expanding what we’re currently doing, our goal is to actually build a French bar in that space. Our intention is to join the two spaces so that folks that are at that bar will be able to order everything that we are currently offering in the creperie. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we closed the front of the [creperie], and we’ve been operating out of a to-go window in the alleyway. Our short term goal is to continue doing the to-go business that we’re doing through that window, but then to also offer some bar seating for people that want to have cocktails or wine or beer, as well as the offerings that we currently have in the creperie. The long term plan is to not only have that, but to shut down that alleyway by working with the town and our neighbors and to be able to have a large outside patio in the alleyway entirely.

Are there any new features that you’re excited about?
Rather than just completely remove any stamp that the optician had there, we’re thinking of somehow integrating some of the things that he left behind into some of the design. He has a lot of really cool French posters and nice display cases that are very French looking. So we’re thinking of integrating some of that design into what the bar is going to look like as a sort of a nod and homage to [the owner of Coolidge Corner Opticians].

How has COVID-19 impacted your design plans and your vision for the new expansion?
What’s really interesting is if COVID-19 had never happened, we would have probably been looking at this a completely different way. As soon as COVID-19 started, we had to completely reorganize the business to become a solely to-go business. And that’s when we introduced the to go window, and we started taking advantage of some outside seating. I’d say that if COVID-19 had never happened, we would probably have a very different idea of what we wanted this bar to look like. But since we found that the current formula has been successful, we don’t now want to mess with that formula.

Can you tell me more about the importance of outdoor seating and how that added to your business?
Outdoor seating has really been the only reliable part of safety over the course of COVID-19. Of all the circumstances by which people feel the safest in order to go to local restaurants, outside seating has definitely proven to be the safest way to eat and to support local businesses. The CDC continues to tell us your chances of catching COVID-19 while outside and maskless are very, very, very low as compared to anything related to inside seating. Keeping outside seating is going to be a new way of life. We just need to begin to get used to a new normal, and part of that means everyone needs to have reliable outside seating.