February 14, 2015 by Emma Bentley
The area between La Chapelle and Marx Dormoy, up in the north of Paris’ 18th arrondissement is a funny place. As well as being right between an Indian community (at La Chapelle) and a mini Chinese community (on rue de Torcy) it is also sandwiched between two sets of train tracks. Ten years ago, it was not a place you would have felt comfortable after dark but nowadays, just like in many other places in Paris (think Pigalle, Batignolles and Belleville) it has seen a rapid gentrification.
Nowhere is this more evident than the Halle Pajol complex on the esplanade Nathalie Serraute. It first started, in late 2013, with the bar Les Petites Gouttes. Bob’s Bake Shop opened up shortly afterwards and it is now complete with a Youth Hostel, library and awesome co-working space. The esplanade is fantastic in the summer as everyone spills out onto the terrasse to soak up the sun.
Bob’s Bake Shop plays, for me, a key part in the energy of this new quartier. Marc Grossman has been living in Paris since 1999; he opened Bob’s Juice Bar in 2006 and it was an instant success. Subsequently, opening Bob’s Bake Shop in 2014 provided him with a large kitchen from which Bob’s Food Etc can make enough bagels, bialys and pies to supply all of Paris! Talk about building an empire!
Back to the Bake Shop, Marc once said “we’re not a coffee place. The focus is on bagels and we need to keep doing that right. With coffee. We’re not here to do tricks.”
Large enough to seat 30-40 people (plus ample outside seating if the weather is clement) this is a relaxing place to meet up with friends. Music playlist is US-orientated – think: Stevie Wonder, Barry White and Motown classics.
All the bagels are hand-rolled. As of February 2015, a basic bagel with cream cheese would set you back 3 euros 50; a PB&J bagel: 4 euros or the (somewhat healthier option!) avocado bagel: also 4 euros.
More substantial sandwiches (e.g. hummus and grilled carrots, kalamata feta and grilled veg, tomato relish and cheddar cost 7 euros. Smoked salmon and cream cheese for 8.)
Clearly this is a great option if you are looking for a vegetarian food in Paris which fits even a tight budget.
The Bake Shop is open from every day (seven days a week!) from 8am til 4pm. Can I just casually drop in how AMAZING this is!! Thank you, les anglo-saxons, for realising that some people need coffee before 10am!
If you’re looking for a coffee shop where you can sit, undisturbed, and work for a couple of hours, this is a local favourite. There is reliable free wi-fi, plenty of space and unlimited Belleville Brûlerie filter coffee for just 2 euros.
N.B. Just a mention: the bagels aren’t ready until around 10am – so (at least at the time of writing) you can’t pop in before work to grab a bagel for lunch. Breakfast options include granola and fromage blanc (3,50), fruit salad (2,50), or something Chia-seedy that I walked away from immediately! 😛
Essential InformationAddress: 12 esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 75018 Telephone: 09 84 46 25 26 Website: Bob’s Food Etc., Facebook Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am til 4pm. Reservations: not taken.