After more than seven months of closure, establishments can once again welcome customers indoors this Wednesday in France.
A postcard square, under a radiant sun: closed for more than seven months, the Italian restaurant Terra Nera welcomes again, Wednesday, the regulars of the neighborhood … and fans of the series “Emily in Paris”, which made it famous all over the world.
“For a restaurateur, there is an adrenaline rush at each service: you have to give the best”, told AFP Valerio Abate, owner with Johann Baranes of the establishment with the front and the carmine red walls, near of the Pantheon, which serves traditional cuisine from several regions of Italy. After such a long shutdown, “the adrenaline is ten times stronger”. “We are full this Wednesday and the following days,” he congratulates himself as he walks past the long plates of antipasti that sit at the entrance. The recalcitrant coffee machine gives him trouble: when paying the bill, a customer complained about a cold coffee, but he immediately added: “You reopen, we understand.”
Season 2 shooting
Created in 1978 in a former butcher’s shop, Terre Noire, with classified facade marbles and hooks still on the ceiling, the restaurant was unable to reopen its terrace on May 19: it hosted the shooting of season 2 of “Emily in Paris Darren Star’s hit series, which aired on Netflix in October.
The regulars are there as a family, like Olivier Bijaoui, who appreciates “good Sicilian cuisine and the friendly atmosphere”. “It’s a great place,” he says. This 63-year-old business manager fears “soon to see hordes of fans land” and “no longer be able to find a table”.
In this romantic comedy with tangy photography, a young American woman who does not speak a word of French, Emily – played by Lily Collins, the daughter of musician Phil Collins – arrives in the City of Light, where she falls under the spell of her neighbor. Gabriel, played by French actor Lucas Bravo. High school student, Célia Trijard, 15, who lives in Villemomble in Seine-Saint-Denis came with her mother, “to test the restaurant and see the building, the bakery, all the filming locations” she said, her eyes shining . However, she has trouble recognizing the decor of the “Deux compères”, the French bistro where chef Gabriel officiates in the series.
“Huge ad for Paris”
“A team came, they moved everything, our tables, our chairs, our glasses… the next day another truck arrived and everything was rearranged. At the end of the shoot, they put everything back as before, ”says Johann Baranes. Broadcast in 93 countries, the series “is a huge advertisement for Paris,” said Valerio Abate, admiring an American film crew who “sometimes turned at night without making a sound, when they were more than sixty”.
Good-natured humor focused on the gap between French and Americans, ultra glamorous Paris, freshness of the acting: the broadcast sparked an avalanche of tweets from foreigners dreaming of living in the French capital – others, already living there, came in large numbers to take a selfie in front of the facade. To take advantage of this unexpected notoriety, the restaurateurs have created an Instagram page and an “Emily in Paris” menu: spritz or americano as an aperitif, Apulian burrata, Limousin beef tenderloin, arugula spiced with 50-year-old balsamic vinegar and Tiramisu.
Closure during containment
But at the end of October, the restaurant closed for the second confinement. The two partners then launched extensive work at Terra Nova, their second establishment, just opposite. “We took advantage of this period to reflect: we are going to offer more modern Italian cuisine, around a revisited pizza, in this establishment which will be called Pizza du Panthéon,” explains Johann Baranes, who also imports Italian products with his company. Italcibus.
Despite the euphoria of the reopening, the concern is there: “If we are still here it is thanks to the help that there has been, said Valerio Abate. The State should not stop there because this summer, the lack of tourists will be felt. ”