A new restaurant is taking over the space that was home to West Village’s short-lived French cafe La Bohème. Frenchies, a neighborhood sandwich spot, is set to takeover the corner restaurant space at 8100 Kercheval St. across the street from Sister Pie this fall.
Local business owner Jesse Welter is behind the new restaurant project, which will offer a selection of casual American food with minor French associations in an allusion to the previous tenant. Think french dip sandwiches, french toast, french fries, and other items that aren’t exactly french.
Welter is the owner of Things From Detroit, a gift shop located inside the former Parker Street Market space on the same block as the restaurant. He’s also known somewhat infamously for running “ruin porn” tours of abandoned buildings in Detroit through Motor City Photography Workshops. That chapter appears to be coming to a close for Welter, as redevelopment of some of the city’s biggest abandoned landmarks is causing Detroit to shed some of its past reputation. He notes that he’s looking into developing restaurant tours now.
Welter says that often when the tours conclude at his shop, many of his participants are hungry. Despite West Village’s growing list of food businesses, the neighborhood still offers few options for dinner. When La Bohème’s managing partner Jean Jeannot abruptly closed the doors at the restaurant and returned to France in March, Welter decided to make something new out of the space. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some food in there,” he says.
Welter found that much of La Bohème’s furniture, plates, and other items were left behind in the space and he decided to keep them. “I like what Jean did with the place,” he says. Still, he has made some minor tweaks to the storefront including fixing some of the windows. He’s also working with the city on licensing. As far as the food, Welter says he has a background in culinary arts and will also have help from his children who work in the hospitality industry.
Welter plans to open the restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with meals priced at around $10. The restaurant will likely stay open most days until 8 p.m. with the option of carryout. If all goes according to plan, Frenchies could open by mid-September.
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