The ‘M’ in Café M is for ‘magnifique’
Savannah has a new and welcome addition to Bay Street. Tucked away in the same building as the River Street Inn (on Factor’s Walk), is Café M, a small Parisian-inspired French café serving breakfast and lunch. The location can be tricky for those who tend to not venture to Bay Street or beyond, but believe me, it’s worth it. Opened just this past summer, Café M is already gaining popularity with tourists and locals alike, and if the steady stream of customers that we saw while dining there are any indication, it looks like owners Amanda and Arthur can expect their cafe’ to become only more popular as word gets out about this little gem.
The inside of this French café is definitely reminiscent of Paris, with cool mint and white walls, vintage French magazine prints, and the woven café chairs that populate vast stretches of the Parisian sidewalks. We just wish there more of these fabulous tables and chairs outside — a lá Francais. You can walk up to the counter to place your order; if you choose to stay and enjoy the ambience, your order will be brought to your table. Having lived in France for 30 years, Amanda and Arthur Montplaisir know a thing or two about French cuisine, but they have chosen to take what they know and use that knowledge to put their own twist on Southern staples, such as freshly brewed, flash-chilled iced tea and homemade pralines.
Arthur is in charge of the savory side of things, and based on the croissant that I had this morning, with ham, swiss, and dijon mustard, I’d say he knows what he’s doing. The croissants are warm, flaky and fluffy, and are the only item not made in house by Arthur or Amanda. Apparently, the croissant and its integrity are so important that the owners felt that they wouldn’t be able to do it justice while making everything else on the menu, so they have chosen the next best option — importing the croissants from Paris. Their croissant melts — split croissants stuffed with savory fillings and warmed— are served all day (or until they run out), but if you’re craving something a little larger, the café also has baguette sandwiches for lunch (and until closing at 5:30pm). There are 4 or 5 flavors of each sandwiches, including a nutella and banana variety, and more varieties are to be added to the menu soon.
Amanda is in charge of the sweets, and while her wares are true to those found in her native France, she knows her crowd, and the flavors that she showcases are proof: pecan pies, sweet almond cookies, peach tarts and pumpkin tarts are just a few of the tasty treats that are available throughout the day at Café M. The chocolate croissants are dangerously addictive, and are to be savored at any time of the day. The Montplaisirs also have their own version of one of Savannah’s most popular sweet treats with their version of the praline — Les Pralines Roses, a praline candy that is made of pink almonds. These candies, which are as tasty as they are pretty, are sprinkled on croissants and other baked goods, and are also sold by the bag in the cafe’.
Between the beautiful, light-filled interior and the delicious smells that envelop you as soon as you walk through the door, you know that Café M is going to be worth of a return trip, and it is. If you can’t make it back soon, then grab a bag of Les Pralines Roses, some tea, or even some Monin syrup as a souvenir of this lovely little den of tranquility — hopefully it will tide you over until you can make it back.
128 E Bay St
Open Monday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m.
Phone: (912) 712-3342