The team behind Carlsbad’s popular restaurant Campfire has announced plans to open an 80-seat French bistro just down the street this fall.
Jeune et Jolie will open sometime around October at 2659 State St. in Carlsbad Village. It will be the second project conceived by Campfire’s owner John Resnick and executive chef Andrew Bachelier.
Jeune et Jolie — which translates from French as “young and beautiful” — is named after the longtime friends’ young daughters, Elsie June Resnick and Margot Jolie Bachelier.
“We’re a couple of guys who live in Southern California opening a French restaurant,” Resnick said. “We wanted it to feel inspired by French restaurants but also draw a lens to who we really are.”
Resnick said diners can expect the new location to have the same inspired design ethos and hyper-focus on culinary technique as Campfire, which has become one of the county’s most successful new restaurants since it opened in late 2016.
“It’s been incredible,” Resnick said of Campfire’s success. “I think I had very high hopes for the restaurant and how the community would respond and those hopes were far surpassed.”
Campfire celebrates the communal aspects of camping and campfires. Virtually everything on the menu is prepared over an open flame or in a wood-fired oven and the restaurant’s whimsical interior and its teepee-dominated patio resemble a 1950s-era campground.
Like Campfire, Jeune et Jolie will be designed by L.A.’s Bells & Whistles interior design firm. Resnick said the petite, white-walled restaurant will have the casual elegance of a classic Parisian bistro.
Jeune et Jolie is being built inside a revamped 2,000-square-foot commercial building just a one-minute walk north of Campfire on the same street. Because of their proximity, Resnick said creating a unique niche for the new restaurant is important.
A six-year resident of Leucadia, Resnick said his restaurant research process involves constantly being on the lookout for concepts that are new to North County.
“With Campfire we were trying to make a restaurant with really good food, cocktails and hospitality in an engaging environment and vibe. For Jeune, we are trying to create a French restaurant that would be dynamic and new but still authentic and true to who we are and the location.”
For Jeune, Resnick and Bachelier have been inspired by the many trips they have taken, separately, to France, and Bachelier is eager to dust off his culinary skills in classic French technique.
Carlsbad Village already has an upscale French restaurant, Paon, which is a favorite of Resnick and his wife. To distinguish itself, Jeune will have a menu inspired by the cuisine of France as well as its former colonies in the Caribbean, Vietnam and Africa.
In keeping with Southern California tastes, Bachelier’s dishes at Jeune will be lighter in style with more vegetable and seafood-driven entrees. The restaurant will also have a raw bar.
Campfire’s bar manager Leigh Lacap is overseeing Jeune’s wine and cocktail program. The restaurant will serve only natural wines, which are organically farmed and unfiltered. Cocktails will feature French spirits like Cognac and Armangnac and absinthe drinks will be served from a 1920s-style tower fountain.
Rather than the toddler-friendly Campfire, Jeune will be more for grown-up get-togethers, date nights and celebrations. It will be open for dinner and brunch only.
“This will still have that incredible energy and vibrancy of Campfire, but it will be a bit more geared to the big nights of your life,” Resnick said.