A history of @11thStreetCafe, as told by owner Maud Bonsignour:
Sometimes it's good to take a walk down memory lane. One half of the husband-and-wife team behind 11th Street Cafe, Maud Bonsignour does just that in this week's post, telling us how she and hubby Philippe came to open cafes in the West Village, back when it was more Jane Jacobs and less Marc Jacobs. Read the story>> Philippe and I have been in the food business since childhood. I grew up working in my parent's restaurant in Versailles, starting at the age of 11. I met Philippe when I was 7, when he began culinary school next to Paris. We were living in the same building and I use to run to his apartment after school to taste the new cookies and cake recipes he was learning in school. Eventually, he moved back to NYC where he was born, and started working as a sous-chef at La Cote Basque and Essex House. At the age of 21, Philippe decided to open his own business. This is how Bonsignour coffee shop was born, in the late 80s at the corner of Jane Street and 8th Avenue. As soon as I turned 18, I jumped on a plane, became his partner, got married, and had two kids, Enzo, now 19, and Eva, now 18. They grew up in the West Village. They have been selling Christmas trees with the Romp family at the corner of Jane Street during the holidays for a few years now. We met the Romps many years ago, when their kids were babies. They would park across from Bonisgnour and we happily gave them electricity to fuel their camper. We sold Bonsignour to spend a couple of years in the French Basque country with the kids, and we moved back to the West Village 5 years ago. This is when we opened 11th Street Cafe, on 11th street between Washington and Greenwich Street. We have seen many changes in the neighborhood, and I have to say, I feel really nostalgic about the old Bleecker Street and the Village in general. We still know the families that have been around as long as we have and we can barely get a block in the Village without seeing someone we know. We know the moms, the babies, the grandmother's name, the dogs... It reminds me of my small village in France. I love this relaxed friendly atmosphere.
Originally printed in Paper & String Magazine