Mark DePalma: new direction at French 75

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Mark DePalma, formerly of Mark’s, is no longer solo. He has decided topartner with French 75. After meeting with owners Rudy Pollak and John Martin for the first time on a Tuesday, Mark joined the new French 75 team on Wednesday evening. “I used to dine at Mark’s when he was on Coast Hwy and was always amazed by his hospitality and graciousness,” said Martin. “He is a classic restaurateur who will settle for nothing but the best. Mark and I met with Rudy:and it was “love at first sight”.”

Mark joins an all-star cast at French 75, which includes Pascal Olhats (described by Mark as “one of the best chefs and restaurateurs on the planet”), Director of Operations Kelly O’Callaghan, Executive Chef David Shofner, GM Bruce Williams, and Events Coordinator Jonathon Crowell.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to come on board with these guys. What a great team we’re going to make. And we’re going to have so much fun together.”

As I interviewed Mark on Thursday at French 75, on a day when most people were out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, I was amazed at how many people came up during our interview and embraced him. His son Kai even skateboarded by, yelling out “Hi dad” before running into a pole.

It seems everyone is excited that Mark, one of Laguna’s local favorites, has found a new home. What the Greeter brought to Laguna, Mark DePalma now brings to French 75.

“This is what I grew up in. When I was 15, I started at a little French restaurant in L.A. – Le Restaurant. It’s meant to be – I started out at one [a French restaurant], and I’m ending at one.”

Mark will maintain his catering business,and saidthat he will be catering an event on Saturday at the Laguna Playhouse. “The two will complement each other well. It’s important that I stay connected to the community. Catering keeps me connected.”

Informally titled “The Ambassador”, Mark will be creating an upscale “Cheers” type atmosphere at French 75. “I want us to treat guests as if they’re entering our home.”

Moving forward, look for a new spring menu featuring lighter fare, daily specials, and fundraisers to pack the house.

Article by Shaena Stabler from: www.stunewslaguna.com

Posted on 04/06/11 by Allison