Between mysterious flying objects and Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement, you might have missed last week’s biggest piece of Wisconsin Ave news: the arrival of Maman, a New York-based bakery that invites you — and your laptop — to its serene new space in Georgetown.
Maman is known for an enticing espresso bar, a perfect menu of breakfast and lunch entrées, and amazing nutty chocolate chip cookies — not my words, but Oprah’s. Since its founding in 2014, the cafe has expanded to locations throughout New York, New Jersey, Bethesda and most recently, Georgetown.
The Wisconsin area bustles with students and families — the type of community where Maman fits right in. Rather than a grab-and-go experience, the cafe encourages patrons to stay a while, meet their neighbors and take solace in their South of France-inspired seating areas.
“Maman was founded with the goal of being a home away from home,” Yannik Encarnação, Maman’s marketing coordinator, told The Hoya. “There are so many coffee shops that feel sterile and unwelcoming… lacking a neighborhood feel that is essential for the customer. But at Maman, people can come and gather in the space, no matter where they are from. We are so excited to bring this to Georgetown.”
“Maman” is an endearing French term for mother, a nod to the source of many of the cafe’s recipes. Combining generations of traditions passed down, founders Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall hone their French and Canadian roots to create a menu of quality ingredients and comfort cuisine. In addition to coffee and pastries, the cafe serves a complete breakfast and lunch menu.
“We found there to be a very clear distinction between restaurant and cafe in Georgetown,” Encarnação said. Maman distinguishes itself by blurring the line between the two: a cafe complete with a coffee bar and workspace, but also table settings to enjoy conversation over a leisurely meal.
Maman opened on Valentine’s Day, the same day that my first class was conveniently canceled. I might go as far as to call it fate! The first 100 guests received free tote bags and branded pins, their carriers proudly spreading Maman’s love on the day of love. Although I arrived two hours after the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, my croissant was still warm from the oven: my ultimate love language.
I also ordered a cortado, smashed avocado tartine (the side of Maldon Sea Salt and chili flakes was especially appreciated) and a nutty cookie to-go, the perfect incentive to attend my afternoon economics lecture.
In addition to some seasonal specials, the menu outlines an impressive selection of dishes: a breakfast sandwich with bourbon bacon jam, Belgian waffles with blueberry pomegranate compote, farro salad with pumpkin seed pistou and the famed Crogel (croissant plus bagel) with smoked salmon.
The entire menu is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends, but the cafe remains open until 6:00 p.m. daily.
The space perfectly embodies Maman’s commitment to community; with multiple seating areas and a sprawling layout, it was designed with Georgetown students in mind. Complete with a designated work area and outdoor dining, Maman is perfect for Sunday brunch or Sunday study sessions, wherever the day might take you.
On opening day, “The Study” was full of people typing on laptops and sipping on lattes. All my love to Lau, but this might be a necessary upgrade. The cafe also has a space for private events that would be perfect for birthdays and club events. “We hope Georgetown students use our space like an extension of campus,” Encarnação said. Judging by Hoya turnout on opening day, I have no doubt that students will take full advantage of Maman’s peaceful work environment and outstanding study sustenance.
There are lots of dining options in Georgetown, but few combine a cafe and a kitchen into a setting perfect for every occasion. While only a 10-minute walk from the front gates, stepping into Maman feels like being transported out of the city and into the countryside. Whether it is the location of your next study session or study break, Maman is the relaxing, and delicious, off-campus sanctuary you have been looking for all this time.
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