Two bistro applicants move forward for 2022
By Kevin Elliott
Two restaurant owners who are seeking new bistro licenses in the city's downtown district presented their concepts to the Birmingham City Commission on Monday, November 8, which then moved them forward to the city's planning board for site plan and design reviews, approvals and recommendations.
The French Lady, 768 N. Old Woodward, and Wilder’s Supper Club, to be constructed at 460 N. Old Woodward, were selected by commissioners as potential liquor license recipients in 2022. The specialty liquor licenses provide restaurateurs an opportunity to obtain liquor licenses beyond the limited number of Class C licenses available. As such, they are required to have a traditional bistro appeal by maintaining a degree of outdoor seating, as well as limiting seats to 65 or less, including 10 at the bar.
The licensing process begins and ends with the city commission, which selects which bistros to consider. Applicants are thoroughly reviewed by staff and the city’s planning board, which recommends whether or not the commission should grant final approval.
Claude Bouly-Pellerin opened The French Lady in 2020, bringing with her the food from where she was born and raised in the north of France. Think crepes and quiche, risotto and ratatouille, beef Bourguignon as well as authentic French desserts. She said the goal is an authentic French bistro with a small outdoor patio overlooking the Rouge River. Often diners catch Bouly-Pellerin playing her harp for diners. She is seeking a bistro license to offer wine and spirits to accompany her meals.
Also seeking a bistro license in 2022 is Samy Eid, whose father Sameer Eid brought Phoenicia to the city in 1982, and is a staple of the Birmingham restaurant community. Samy Eid also owns and operates the Forest bistro at 735 Forest.
Eid said he is planning a “throwback to the glory days of American dining.” He named Wilder’s Supper Club, after his infant son. The project is planned for the redevelopment of the former Junior League Building, 460 N. Old Woodward, which will include a three-story, mixed-use building, with offices and residences on top.
City commissioners approved moving both applicants forward to the planning board for review.