I was eating in a restaurant on East Lake Street last week and happened to notice a stack of Southside Pride newspapers with the lead article on the New French Bakery. I worked as a chef at the New French Café in its earliest days and am always moved by the strong affection that memories of this restaurant still provoke for so many people.
No doubt you work hard to state the facts accurately in the stories you choose to write. Just for the record: Lynne Alpert and Pam Sherman were the two visionary founders of the New French Café in 1977. There were several silent partners as well, but Sam and Sylvia Kaplan were not among them. I know the Kaplans, and they would never claim that. Sam and Sylvia did indeed buy the restaurant at a later point. They also created a side-business called the New French Bakery when they purchased the restaurant, since there was a demand for the baked goods that the Cafe and the New French Bar were serving their diners.
Getting this story right is hardly the most important issue of the day, but honoring two path-breaking woman business owners in what used to be an overwhelmingly male profession seems important. The restaurant was never a financial powerhouse, but most locals agree that it played an impressive role in shifting the dining culture in the Twin Cities in the 1970s and ’80s.