What a welcome relief it is to discover a refuge away from the bustle and noise of a big city. It’s especially pleasant when that hideaway serves espresso, pastries and bread! Maman is the gracious bakery and café to come to our rescue during these long, cold winter months.
Owners Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte focus their dishes on family-inspired recipes from the south of France and North America. The warmth and enthusiasm found at Maman is spilling over in every moment of your time spent in the café. Truly an extension of your home, one feels comfortable and embraced with the food, drinks and atmosphere served here. Maman’s new location in TriBeCa is every bit as cordial as the beloved spot in SoHo. As a larger space, Maman TriBeCa offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, as well as welcomes private events.
With a zest for interior design and a history in event planning, Elisa is your new best friend who will effortlessly guide you through preparing for any occasion. From the hand-printed wallpaper to the personal touches of family photos (one of our favorite details of Maman!) we love that we whenever we visit the city we can steal a moment to ourselves in this Manhattan haven.
Background and upbringing play such an important role in our callings. Please share any of your most significant memories.
I think my inspiration draws from my parents - they type of people the are and the type of people they taught me to be. My mom is an incredible women. Beautiful, creative, detail oriented and the most positive person I know. She always pushed me to see the bright side of things, follow my passion and encouraged creativity in me. My favorite memories with her would be in the kitchen attached to her hip baking or hours of arts and crafts after school - creating & making anything and everything together. My father is a very creative entrepreneur. Always coming up with new ideas & inventions, and always encouraged me to work for myself and build my own future. At a young age we were planning and 'running' businesses together. From lemonade stands and bake sales on the street corner at the age of 6 to having a pretty big ebay business by 12 my father always guided me and instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me encouraging me to build my own path.
What kind of foods do you like to make when cooking for friends and family?
I love themes - from cooking to setting the table. Regular dinner parties are boring. From mexican night to using only selected ingredients, the more themed and focused\you can make your meal the more fun it is to prepare (and eat) regular cooking to me is boring - anyone can do that any night.
New York can become a bit of an energy drain at times. Do you have a quiet place you can retreat to where you re-energize?
Our home. We spend so much time around people all day and between our two locations that our home is my fav place to relax and unwind. It is relaxing, quiet and beautiful. A small cozy space filled with all the things (and people) I love!
Separating work life from personal life can be difficult. Have you set any limits for yourself?
Yes - but we don't tend to stick to them.;) I try to make an effort to take at least one day off a week to relax and to do something personal and one night off for Ben and myself to enjoy an evening together.
Travel is something we know is imperative to quality of life. What’s on your “to visit” list this year?
I am excited to explore upstate New York and to go hop around to small little towns staying in old bed and breakfasts and antiquing.
Is there anywhere you’ve visited locally recently that stands out?
We just came back from a wonderful food tour of LA. We took 5 days off a few months back and had a nice break exploring the city and getting some much needed rest and inspiration. One of my fav spots and days would have to have been our first day we arrived and we went on a beautiful drive along the coast and to visit malibu farms. Such a beautiful and serene contrast to the craziness of our NYC lives!
Can you share more about your path to opening Maman?
It was a long and fun road to get to Maman but exciting to see how all our past adventures, careers and passions brought us together and where we are today. Long story short, I was working a 9 to 5 job in fashion, planning weddings and events in evenings and weekends and between that has a catering company on the side - I loved too much & enjoyed doing it all so it was hard to narrow my career to focus on one thing. Without being able to find a job that could fulfill all my needs I created one - a beautiful space merging my love for design, food, coffee & events and all with the person I love.
What is something you use daily that you can’t live without?
Coffee - and I am so lucky I have an endless supply of it (and in pretty cups!)