American food in Paris is all the rage. Check out four fun restaurants where we experienced the Parisian take on hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and barbecue.
We exited our Airbnb apartment, strolling down Rue du Renard away from the Pompidou; turning right onto one of Paris’ largest thoroughfares, Rue de Rivoli. Once on Rivoli, we walked past the Hotel de Ville within earshot of Notre Dame passing an assortment of boulangeries and fromageries including noted MOF affineur Laurent Dubois and Boulanger Manon. After a few short blocks we tingled with excitement as we approached our Parisian dinner destination – The Grilled Cheese Factory.
The Grilled Cheese Factory?!!
Yes. You read that correctly folks. We were in Paris on a mission to eat American classics: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and… Barbecue. During our recent food-focused visit to Lyon we were floored by the gigantic, yet perfectly prepared burgers at Les Frangins. We learned that this American food fascination began in Paris and was championed by chefs wishing to stretch the culinary boundaries of French gastronomy to create something new and exciting. In a way, these chefs are pouring ‘new wine in old bottles’ as they reach for new sources of inspiration to create and, in many ways, elevate classics that many of us would consider mundane. And in many ways they’re doing it with American food in Paris.
Where to Eat American Food in Paris
The Grilled Cheese Factory
As we entered The Grilled Cheese Factory in the Lower Marais, our heads turned immediately to the open kitchen just to right of the door. There, two chefs grilled large triangular sandwiches on a trio of skillets. The diagonally sliced sandwiches were lying face down in their respective pans. Grilling the cheesy inside of the sandwich? How come we never thought of that? And the ingredients? Melty fresh cheddar, full flavored pastrami (a deli favorite in Paris) and other notable fillings like local farm bacon and deep carmelized onions. The sandwiches are crisped to perfection on bread sourced from MOF boulangerie Ganachaud.
Tasting Tip: Be sure to add optional fillings like raclette and rocamadour cheeses, fig jam and tomato confit.
The Grilled Cheese Factory (€) is located at 9 Rue Jacques Cœur, 75004 Paris, France.
Frenchie To Go
Chef Gregory Marchand blazed new culinary trails in Paris in 2009 with the opening of Frenchie, a restaurant that unashamedly draws in Non-French influences like American and Italian food to the French culinary canon. Now, Marchand offers a number of American classics at his latest venture, Frenchie To Go. Think you’ve seen some great hot dogs? Check out Marchand’s simple yet elegant take on the American tube meat classic. Frenchie To Go grills a thin hot dog and places it on a massive hot dog bun stylishly dressed (in Parisian style, of course) with swirled yellow mustard. After tasting the slightly smoky, beefy grilled dog, Daryl swore that the restaurant must be importing their links from New York, but the hot dogs are actually made in-house.
Frenchie To Go also makes a killer Reuben as well as other staples like the Pulled Pork and Lobster Roll sandwiches. They also serve killer Non-American specials including creamy burrata with whole and shaved white asparagus, strawberries and black olives. Combine the great food with a casual family atmosphere, and the result is not to be missed.
Tasting Tip: Don’t be thrown off by a long line. For us, the line moved fairly quickly and was well worth the wait.
Frenchie to Go is located at 9 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France.
Our barbecue odyssey, which began at the BBQ capitals of Lockhart and Kansas City, continued at The Beast. One would have to figure that the French, whose culinary classics include slow-cooking stalwarts like Boeuf Bourguignon, Blanquette de Veau and Coq au Vin, would lovingly embrace the barbecue concept of ‘low and slow’ cooking. And how was the brisket you ask? Pretty darn good. The moist and juicy meat contains a perfect red smoke ring like we would expect in America, but the rub, dotted with whole peppercorns, was unmistakably French. The French will never just plop food on a plate, and the barbecue was plated next to a pool of sauce much like a steak in a fine restaurant.
Tasting Tip: The huge beef rib, made with meat imported from Australia, is a noteworthy splurge.
The Beast is located at 27 Rue Meslay, 75003 Paris, France.
We stopped in Le Ruisseau for burgers while bar hopping with our friends at Our Tasty Travels. While Le Ruisseau’s burgers aren’t quite as epic as the ones we ate at Les Frangins in Lyon, they are loaded with flavor. This hole-in-the-wall serves a fine blue cheese burger made with Blue d’Auverne and a goat cheese burger with St, Maure de Touraine. Plus,the fries served with our burgers were perfectly crisp. Is there a more perfect quick meal than hamburgers for four Americans dining in Paris? Maybe. Maybe not.
We view a restaurant like Le Ruisseau as a bridge between the large burgers we would eat in a fine restaurant and the kind of burgers that are served at Shake Shack, our favorite American fast food joint. That Parisians, however, maximize their ability to use the kinds of superior products (cheeses, meats and condiments) that are only available in France, elevating the burger to a finer dining experience that you can expect when eating American food in Paris.
Tasting Tip: Le Ruisseau is located right near the Pompidou, making it an excellent spot to eat after checking out some of Paris’ best modern art.
Le Ruisseau is located at 22 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris, France.