Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Comment on "La Madelaine's"

At one time, many years ago, La Madelaine was the corner bistro for coffee, fresh bread, great pastries and a real Caesar salad. The founder, Patrick Leon Esquerré started in Dallas in 1982 and built a very profitable franchise. I was a frequent visitor to his second store on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. I remember young men and women from France taking orders behind the counter and the smell of fresh bread baking. Not anymore. I don't know how many times it has changed hands in the last fifteen years. And I think it is, for the most part, terrible. My son says the breakfasts are good and a good value. I thought I raised him better. I try it every six months or so for a salad and pasta and am always disappointed. Sorry. Their bread manufacturing is efficient and centralized but I never get the sense that anyone cares about the taste. There was something authentic and attractive about the bags of flour that once were stacked high near the ovens and the white flour dust that covered the oven area. Maybe they can survive on image and reputation, but I doubt it. Another thing -- the average American coffee palate has improved in the last ten years because of Starbucks, yet La Madelaine still serves the same mediocre cup as if no one was noticing the obvious. Somebody buy it and fix it, or stick a fork in it and get rid of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live near the Camp Bowie location and stop by occasionally. I don't so much have a problem with the food (however, the coffee does leave me wanting a more savory brew) as I do with the general service. No matter the time, the place always appears to be in CHAOS! I have also heard others mention that this location is not very clean. As far as I can tell, the seating areas and restrooms are fine, however, the management at this location has a bad habit of showcasing bread and pastries along the top of the serving counter where I can see that they are sprayed with spittle and coughed upon by those waiting in the line. Very unappetizing to say the least!