With one look at the new ~PASSION CAFÉ~, and you will agree: it takes a lot of passion to restore a place to this level of grandeur. What was formerly housing a pawn shop and liquor store on gritty Sixth Street has been transformed into a French café-bistro, due to open the second week of January. Owners/partners Steven Barton and Jacques Andre fortunately have as much of a background in general contracting as they do in cooking, because the restoration of this 100-year-old space has been painstaking indeed. The brick building is full of reclaimed materials, like the floors of long redwood planks that were taken from the old bakery’s walk-in fridge next door (yup, it had redwood walls, amazing). They tried to use as many of the building’s original materials that they could, and the woodwork on the doors is gorgeous. The original historical façade has also been restored. Even more marvelous, there is a rooftop area with vines and trellises designed for outdoor dining, and room for 20 (heat lamps will eventually be added). Barton says, “When you walk through the doors you feel as though you’ve been transported back through time.”
The menu will feature espresso and coffee in the morning (at 7am), with tarts, tartines, and items baked on-site available at 8am. Lunch and dinner will be served daily, featuring classics like boeuf bourguignon (chef Andre is from Paris, and also cooked in restaurants in Guadeloupe). Yeah, it’s a tough street, but they are hoping to entice the theater crowd for dinner (they will serve until 9pm, and possibly later, TBD), and I think any fan of historical architecture and preservation is going to want to check this gem out as well.
Passion Café exterior; photo provided by Passion Café.