5 Famous Bistros Around The World

You don’t have to serve French fare and wine to be considered a bistro. So long as your menu is small and specialized, the atmosphere cozy and the food over the top, you have gained bistro status. Here’s a look at some distinctively different small restaurants that have earned themselves a bistro title.

bistro sign

Soul Food Bistro

American southern food that encompasses everything you know it to be. Hot, hearty and finger licking good. There are two different locations, one on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida and the other on the south side so that the whole city can get a taste of their daily specials like Tuesdays curry chicken or Thursdays classic meatloaf and mashed potatoes. What makes this a stand out bistro is the cafeteria style setting, allowing you to pick and choose whatever combinations you want.


Chives Canadian Bistro

Chives is the epitome of the bistro as they use fresh local ingredients, making it necessary to change their menu with the seasons. Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia the owner of Chives is also the chef and has written 3 best-selling Canadian cookbooks. With starters like smoked potato and celery root chowder and entrees like Nova Scotia spring lamb you can see how he has perfectly blended local flare with a French twist.


Le Rubis

Located in the heart of Paris, Le Rubis is best known for its extensive wine list. A favorite for local business men for lunch, who enjoy the typical Paris bistro fare that includes favorites like andouillette, jarret and bourgiugnon. When in Paris, make sure you choose to dine at twilight when the locals are lined up at the bar, giving you the chance to sit at one of the cozy banquettes.

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Balthazar Restaurant

You might be on Spring Street in New York City, but when inside the Balthazar you are transported straight to Paris. The décor is a good blend of opulence and cozy with furnishings that are unmistakenly Parisian in design. You will find solid bistro food like classic roasted chicken and steak fries, but more impressive is the oyster and shellfish bar. That’s what really makes this award winning bistro in New York stand out above all of the rest.


Chez Manny

Inside of Battersea, London you will find a menu that is pure French all of the time. Sit down to a plate of foie gras, or baked Camembert. The ingredients are always fresh and the food always cooked to perfection. This is a stand out bistro in London not for the food, although that is a plus, but for the warm and cozy atmosphere that has been set by the brothers who own and run it. Chez Manny is a perfect example of the bistro that caters to the local crowd.
You will find that bistro quality in small restaurants scattered all around the globe. Whether they serve local food, classic French or combination of the two, it’s that warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you walk inside the door that should make it stand out as one of the greats.


How To Start Your Own Bistro And Profit

Owning your own business is a fulfilling experience like no other. Yet it can be very stressful if you start out without educating yourself first. If owning a small restaurant like a bistro is something you have been thinking long and hard about here are a few tips to get you started.

woman enjoying bistro coffee

How do you get raving customers to frequent your bistro?

The idea of a bistro started in Paris as a small and simple restaurant that would serve quality food quickly. Today’s bistro can be themed anyway you want and catering towards any type of ethnic cuisine you feel comfortable with. So long as the food is exceptional, your bistro should flourish.

One way to ensure that you are always serving great food is by keeping your menu simple. Let the larger restaurants keep their confusing and expansive menus, yours should be small and precise. This allows you to focus your attention on making sure that the dishes you serve are always made to perfection.

Statistics show that around half of all new restaurants are going to fail in the first three years. That is scary when you consider how much money, not to mention your heart, is going into the project. Make sure that you have the capital in place and then some to avoid losing your bistro before it even gets up and running.

Not enough funding is one of the biggest mistakes a new restaurant owner makes. Underestimating the start up costs can be detrimental. This causes you to cut corners and inevitably quality in your business, driving away the customers right from the start. Know from the start that no matter how much you think it’s going to cost, it will be more and plan accordingly.

How you staff your bistro is also important. When it comes to a bistro you are dealing with people and two things that are very important to them, food and money. You need to have a front of the house staff that understands this and knows how to treat the customers accordingly. Look for employees who can display signs of empathy as well as patience and consideration when starting to staff your bistro.

Your back of the house is equally important. If you don’t have much experience in the food service industry, having a chef or cook that does can be very beneficial. Just don’t allow them total control over your kitchen. Look for experienced cooks who you feel comfortable talking to in order to avoid your inexperience to intimidate you out of your own kitchen.

To make sure that you start off making a profit, think locally. You’re a small business catering to local customers so you will want to cater to the area around you. Not only should you find a niche that is new to the area, you should direct your marketing efforts accordingly. Plan a big opening, start a loyalty club and use as much local product as possible. Impressing the people close will ensure that you always have customers at your tables.

You are about to embark on a life changing experience that when done right can be very rewarding. Not just for profits you can earn but for knowing that you started something from scratch that turned into a big success.