Photograph by Joel Plotkin
Following in the French footsteps of Louisette Amblard, who lovingly tended to Bon Appetit Gourmet Food Shoppe in Talleyville for almost 30 years, might seem intimidating—unless, of course, you’re Mickey Donatello.
The savvy restaurateur, who runs nearby Corner Bistro and Lucky’s Coffee Shop with co-owner John Schulte, knows a thing or two about the food trade. When he heard Amblard was selling the business in late 2014, he was already sold on the restaurant (3629 Silverside Road, Wilmington, 478-4344).
“I’ve always loved what she did,” Donatello says. “She decided it was time to retire.” He also knew not to tinker with success. “I kept everything that she was basically famous for—her breads, the cheeses, the pâtés, the cured meats.”
But he also knew that after three decades, some changes were in order, like a decor makeover. “There are very few surfaces that haven’t been touched since we took over,” Donatello says. “It just needed freshening up.”
Now, customers will find a comfy, tan Chesterfield couch greeting them as they enter, cream and chocolate-brown walls, distressed walnut flooring and rustic 12-foot beams with clear Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling. “We were going for a modern twist on a French cottage,” Donatello says. “We wanted to give it a casual feel but have an elegance to it.”
Some of the food offerings have also been given a modern touch, like adding avocado to a turkey sandwich, Brie and fig jam to another. Says Donatello, “We essentially kept all the really good stuff.”