BY GABE HERMAN | French bread and pastry shop Marie Blachere opened its first New York City location on April 11 in the Village.
The company has 500 locations in France. The new shop at 301/303 Sixth Ave., at Carmine St., is the chain’s second U.S. location. The first opened in Great Neck, Long Island, on Feb. 12.
Marie Blachere was founded in 2004 by French baker Bernard Blachere.
The bakery prides itself on keeping its treats authentically French. And you can taste the authenticity in the croissants, fondant chocolate, apple tarts and other pastries. It’s hard to appreciate how many bad croissants there are in New York until you try a rich, buttery one like the croissants they make here.
Christophe Besnard, the bakery’s international business development director, told this paper that everything in the shop is made on the premises. Croissants and baguettes are the two most popular items they sell.
He touted the bakery winning Best Baguette in France for the past three years. That sounds like no small feat, perhaps similar to perennially winning Best Pizza in New York.
Besnard said the flour for the baguettes is imported from France, and the exact same recipe is used.
“Our main concern is we expect a high level of quality with a good, normal price,” Besnard said. A baguette goes for $2.20, and the bakery offers a deal to buy three and get one free. With that deal, each baguette goes for $1.65.
That buy three, get one free offer goes for many other pastries, too, including croissants ($2.20 each or $6.60 for four), pain au chocolate ($2.50 for one), and brioche ($2.50 for one).
The shop also offers fruit tarts for $16. And mini-sized tartelettes are $4.90 each, and are also buy-three-get-one-free.
There are also baguette sandwiches, wraps and salads in the $7 to $8 range. Mini-pizzas are made with the shop’s sourdough baguette bread.
Some items at the Village location are exclusive to America, such as muffins and maple turnovers, as are some ingredients, like avocado, almond and cinnamon, which apparently the French aren’t into.
Marie Blachere’s locations in France are generally in more suburban and rural areas, but Besnard said he was happy with this location in the city. He noted the heavy foot traffic nearby and being near the W. Fourth St. subway stop.
But the shop’s design remains similar to its origins in markets in small French villages. There, the goods are spread out on display for customers to choose from, and vendors stand on a slightly raised platform to call out for people to come to the stand.
There is still a raised platform for employees behind the glass cases of pastries at the Village location. Even though the employees don’t need to call out to attract customers here, Besnard said it keeps the same spirit of their other shops.
The bakery also plans to have an outdoor seating area for up to 40 people, which will be added soon.
They don’t plan an extensive marketing campaign, according to Besnard, but instead are focusing on getting people to taste their offerings.
“Our vision is to focus on the customers,” he said. “The best way to communicate is word of mouth.”
Marie Blachere, at 301/303 Sixth Ave., is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.