PARIS — Customers still mourning the closure of cult Parisian concept store Colette and its famed Water Bar restaurant will soon have a new — yet comfortingly familiar — dining option nearby.
“I had been walking past the venue for a while as my kids go to school down the road, but as it’s quite a secluded street I wasn’t convinced,” he said of the vacant location on Rue de la Sourdière, a stone’s throw from his former workplace on Rue Saint-Honoré.
“But Colette knows the area perfectly. She told me the best restaurants aren’t necessarily on a busy street and that mine had to become a destination. I listened to her, because she knows what she’s talking about,” he added.
Set to open in February, Mar’Co, an 860-square-foot restaurant with 50 seats, hopes to fill the void left by the concept store’s celebrated lunch spot, which drew a crowd of fashion industry regulars including Sébastien Jondeau, Karl Lagerfeld’s personal assistant.
“The clientele at the Water Bar was mostly made up of regular customers, often from the neighborhood. I wanted this new place to have to same spirit,” Giami said.
The new venue will employ most of the staff from the restaurant at Colette, adopt the same rotating menu and even serve some of the Water Bar’s most famous dishes, such as its best-selling “Assiette Colette,” a plate of steamed vegetables with goat’s cheese and an olive oil dressing, renamed “Assiette verte” — or “green plate.”
The name of the restaurant itself is a nod to the owner’s past: “Marco is my name, but we added the single quote to reference the fact that I am from Colette — Mar’Co.”
The beverages menu will be more restricted, though. The restaurant on the ground level of Colette — which was initially meant as a café where “the husbands could hang out while the wives shopped upstairs” and didn’t even have a proper kitchen — took its name from the selection of 80 mineral waters it carried.
“Customers used to love drinking exotic water from fancy bottles,” Giami reminisced. “But it had its moment. We’re sticking to coffee and fresh juices at the new restaurant.”
Mar’Co will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., serving food all day long and offering fast Wi-Fi to encourage lingering.
The entrepreneur will continue working with the same collaborators: dishes will be provided by Italian caterer Davoli, the bread will come from French baker Jean-Luc Poujauran (whose bread also graces President Emmanuel Macron’s table at the Elysée), and pastries will be by Ladurée, Angelina and pastry chef Yann Couvreur.
Giami reached out to Sarah Andelman, who founded Colette with her mother and went on to become its creative director, to design the logo for Mar’Co, while architect Arnaud Montigny, whose MCH agency designed the celebrated concept store, helped transform the empty space into a fully fledged restaurant — with its own functioning kitchen this time.
“I worked at the Water Bar for 20 years,” Giami said. “But I worked with Colette for over 34 years, starting back when she had a shop in the second arrondissement. When she told me she was closing the concept store, it felt like the end of an era. But the loyal clientele we built is waiting for the next chapter.”