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Imagine yourself in a small bistro indulging in the finest European cuisine. You may be imagining yourself in France, but you don’t need to. This small bistro is right here in our very own Belleville.
L’Auberge de France is an authentic French bistro, bakery, gourmet shop and cheese boutique with true European roots. When walking into this bistro it is as if you magically turned up in France. The only thing is you don’t need to board a plane, but simply head down to 304 Front Street in Downtown Belleville. The
chef behind this elegant shop is Jean-Marc Salvagno.
“The shop is unique because everything is like it is in Europe,” said Salvagno. “There is no other shop around to duplicate what I am doing.”
Salvagno, who came from Avignon, France, believes it is more than just cooking that makes a restaurant stand out. He values the customers and the experiences that they take with them from the restaurant.
“When people leave the restaurant, I want them to have good memories,” said Salvagno. “These memories should be about great food and a good experience – a unique experience, one on one. If I get that, it’s good for business.”
And good memories and experiences are exactly what people leave with. Families and friends head down to the bistro every Saturday morning for croissants, both buttered and chocolate. Customers arrive early for these freshly baked treats that are pulled out of the oven at 9 AM. Salvagno says more than 250
croissants are sold in under two hours.
A professional chef since 1988, Salvagno has such a passion for what he does at the bistro. This passion is applied to European desserts, breads, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are made fresh daily using his very own French bistro technique. He also offers catering and even private cooking classes.
“I love the food, I love to – well I wouldn’t say cook. It’s more than cooking– it’s creation. A chef is like an artist. We do the creation of dishes. We are in the creation business. It’s more than cooking.”
So how did this little bistro come to be? Salvagno says Trenval Business Development Corporation helped his business– with trust.
“Trenval trusted me,” said Salvagno. “Every time I have a problem, they just fix my problem– help me to keep going. They are really fair and they understand what I want.”
Trenval is a federally-funded organization that has been helping small businesses like L’Auberge de France since 1987. Trenval lends money to local businesses whether they are just getting started or are already existing and looking to expand. In addition to its financing services, it supports local businesses with access to a broad business information library and free one-on-one business counseling.
“Trenval had an open mind, and a business mind, so they know that side too,” said Salvagno. “Their staff is not afraid to jump a little bit and they trust when they know it’s going to work.”