If you managed to parallel park and enter from the street view, you’ll be greeted with merchandise, plenty of seating to choose from and bright lights. Entering from the first floor from parking in the back, it’s hard not to notice swing benches in the form of a chair lift hanging from the ceiling, and upbeat chatter echoing from above.
Opened just a little over a week ago on Monday, Jan. 27, 231 West Patisserie has taken its turn in the Marquette arena and moved their piece. Housed in what was once a type of teen night club and an abandoned building for years, renovations have turned it inside out to create a new ambiance in Marquette.
Known for their French style, this unique and modern patisserie has a multitude of seating, drinks, comfort food as well as a plethora of pastries—perhaps what they’re best known for.
Whether it’s a visit for a date, meeting, study session or simply hanging out with family, the two-story shop, located on Washington Street, is designed to welcome each type of personality.
Visitors Emily Kommer and her friend Haley Bethune said they enjoy the scenery and modern aesthetic of the shop, especially the seating on the lower level that features a snowy backdrop with chair lifts to sit upon.
This was Kommer’s first time visiting. She ordered a chocolate chip cookie, which she said tasted “pretty good.” Bethune has been to the patisserie before and her order is always an iced coffee with almond milk and a macaroon. The two both agreed that it’s a little expensive, but it’s worth it because you know what you’re getting.
As all businesses start off a little chaotic and busy, Front of House Manager Amanda Courchaine said that things have died down a bit since their first week.
“Our first week was really busy with lines all day, which is wonderful,” Courchaine said. “This week has kind of steadied out a bit which is nice.”
Courchaine said that the feedback they’ve been receiving is just what they were hoping for and “has all been great so far.” Additionally, people have been enjoying the way things taste as well as the atmosphere they bring to the city.
“I love it. It’s busy and a lot of work, but I really love being involved in something like this,” Courchaine said.
The patisserie is well-decorated but finishing touches will be made with having artwork hung on the walls, Courchaine said.
Keeping these things in mind, Courchaine doesn’t see other businesses in Marquette like The Crib, for instance, to be their competition because of the different atmosphere and food they have to offer. But much like The Crib, students do find their way in with laptops and homework to stay a while, especially on Sunday nights, which is “nice to see,” she said.
Lars Larson works as a general contractor for the patisserie and worked behind the scenes to make this possible for what community members now see. He said it’s a cool way to show people what he and his team has done.
Going back to NMU for a masters degree, Larson remembers what the building was like years ago when he was an undergrad. He explained that it used to be an art gallery that was essentially a “party house.”
“There were apartments upstairs and they had bands and stuff down here,” Larson said. “It was fun, but then they had a big fire and the inside burned. I was working for a company that did the gutting of it and then it sat for about 10 or 12 years.”
Larson built a house for the owner of the building, Matthew Beardsley, about 10 years ago. Recently, he was looking for property around town and he found this “gem in the rough.” Thus, a patisserie in Marquette was born.