French bakery O Gourmet to take over former Babette’s Feast space

On the heels of the news that Babette’s Feast had closed up shop in Belmont Shore, Orange County-based French bakery Ô Gourmet announced it will take over the space to make way for its second location.

Owner and Paris native Eric Djomby, along with his business partner Benôit Jussaume, have long lived by one philosophy when it comes to introducing Californians to their food: keep it French, keep it genuine, keep it affordable.

“I wake up every day at 3 a.m. because that is how I experienced cafes when I lived in France,” said Djomby, who practiced law before taking up baking, which he’s done professionally for two decades. “You would walk into a cafe and they would have fresh, warm baguettes and our shop is about introducing that aspect of French culture to our customers.”

In other words, don’t expect bagels and donuts when you walk into Ô Gourmet, something that Djomby is both proud and unapologetic about.

In fact, it is his proud Keep-It-French-ness amongst the France Abroad scene that keeps these ex-pats interconnected, with Djomby saying that all French bakers in SoCal are in constant communication with one another. Fellow Frenchman Christian Rebufat, owner of Babette Bakery in Poly Plaza, was how Djomby discovered the property in the Shore, one he felt was perfect for expansion, given the lack of a proper French bakery in the area.

“Our location in San Juan Capistrano doesn’t have heavy foot traffic, it’s mainly folks who drive into the shopping center we’re at,” Djomby said. “So this location in Long Beach is very much an upgrade and will allow us to expand our menu in a way that we just can’t do at our original bakery.”

This means an expanded menu. Sure, they will have their regular offerings of pissaladieres—caramelized onion, anchovies and black olive tarts—and smoked salmon Eggs Benedict. And during the holidays, one can reasonably expect to find their versions of Bûche de Noël and Galette des Rois.

As for specifics, Djomby simply notes that they’re tinkering with food and wine, the latter of which will some Californian offerings but mainly stick to French wines. The same lack of specificity goes for the timeline toward an opening, given they are in the midst of the permitting process.

“What we can guarantee you,” Djomby said, “is that it will be one of the closest things to a genuine French bakery that you can get to in the area.”

Ô Gourmet will be located at 4621 E. Second St.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn

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