Bright and early tomorrow morning (before I will be awake!), one of the newest La Madeleine cafés will open in Cedar Park, just north of Austin. But before the first galette or croissant will be rung into the register, they were already busing hosting a VIP party to introduce the new location. And yes, I got to be on hand for the festivities, from the samples and speeches, to the ribbon cutting. (Oh the perks of being a food and events blogger!)
The event doubled as a fund-raiser for one of the company’s favorite charities, the Children’s Hunger Fund. This organization provides food for children who might otherwise not eat, especially when school isn’t in session (more about them in a another post soon!) Guests were generous — all told, the event plus two training previews earlier in the week raised over $5,000 for the group — it’s wonderful to think how many hungry tummies that money will fill!
The café was crowded for the VIP party, as bloggers, staff families and local dignitaries talked with La Madeleine corporate leaders.
Two talented harpists from nearby Westwood High School provided musical accompaniment to the eventing, while cheer leaders from Cedar Park High School helped out with the charity ticket sales and donation collection. Miss San Antonio was also on hand to great guests, while outside of the store, Jollyville Volunteer Fire Company invited guests to explore a 1952 fire truck (loved that!)
So what does this have to do with Texas?
I do try to keep this blog focused on Texas businesses…especially those based around Austin. And this is no exception. La Madeleine, America’s favorite French café, was conceived and launched right here in Texas!
It started with Patrick Leon Esquerré, a French immigrant from the Loire Valley of France who moved to Texas. He soon discovered that there was nothing in his adopted city of Dallas that matched his memories of relaxing coffee houses and cafés. So he decided to re-create what he missed — but with an American twist.
To get that all-American spin, Esquerré asked Dallas women what they would expect in a French café. From the wooden beamed ceiling and the fireplace to the crusty bread, he listened.The result? A comfortable place that blends memories of the French countryside with Dallas, Texas style.
I won’t be there tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. when the doors open. But I know it won’t be long until I visit again, order an iced tea and a salad and find a spot near the fireplace to relax for a bit. It may not be France…but it’s Texas-style France. And for the Austin area, that’s just perfect.