New restaurant brings taste of France to downtown Birmingham – Hometown Life

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Claude Pellerin brought a taste of her home country to downtown Birmingham.

The Oakland Township resident, who grew up in France, has recently opened up The French Lady, a new restaurant at 768 N. Old Woodward serving cuisine from her home country.

Growing up and living in France, including along the northern border with Belgium, Pellerin said she spent plenty of time on the farm being around wholesome ingredients. Having great cooks in the family, she said, has also inspired her.

“I’ve always loved food,” she said. “I grew up on the farm so it was clean product. If you want a tomato salad, just go to the garden.”

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She came to Michigan several years ago when her husband’s job brought him to the United States. She opened a catering business out of Rochester Hills and had looked across the area for a space to open a restaurant. A friend who works nearby informed her of the opening in Birmingham where LY Sushi formerly operated, and she began negotiations on the space.

“When I arrived, I just saw the potential of the building and knowing I would be near friends was nice,” she said. 

The lunch/dinner menu changes on a daily basis depending on what she’s cooking that day. Menus can be found by visiting her Facebook page. 

In addition to meals, she also sells other items on a daily basis, including meringues and quiches. Pellerin also sells her goods at several area farmers markets, including the ones in Birmingham, Farmington and Royal Oak.

She aims to make all authentic French food, something, she said, that was lacking in metro Detroit.

“I wanted to start small, not only to see if it would work, but if people were ready for French food,” she said. 

Open for carryout since early September, Pellerin plans to open for dine-in as soon as she gets the proper approvals from the city. The planning board unanimously recommended approval for a special land use permit and a final site plan during its Sept. 23 meeting. It’s up to the city commission to make the final determination.

Once those approvals come, she’ll offer some seating inside during the colder months and hopes to add some outdoor seating on the back patio overlooking the Rouge River in 2021.

“The view is wonderful,” she said. 

The restaurant is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. More information, including the week’s menu, can be found on the restaurant’s Facebook page, facebook.com/zefrenchlady.

Pellerin said she’s been happy with the welcome she’s received in Birmingham and in the U.S.

“I’m just happy to be here and the feeling has just been so wonderful,” she said. “The spirit here is so different and very positive. As long as you’re willing to work, the spirit is much more positive.”

Contact reporter David Veselenak at [email protected] or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.

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