French-Tunisian Bistro Readies to Open

Vincent Laforge and son Joseph Laforge inside Bistro L'aviateur on 2850 21st Street. Photo by Andrea Valencia

On a recent morning Vincent Laforge and his son Joseph biked down to the Mission from their house in Dolores Heights to finish work inside the Bistro L’Aviateur that will open on September 1st.

One of the obstacles that Laforge had to overcome when getting ready to open his bistro was acquiring a beer and wine license. He had done the paperwork with the Planning Department, but his request was turned down quoting, “the alcoholism problem of the neighborhood,” he said, referring to the Alcoholic Beverage Special Use District that bans new liquor licenses in different areas.

“I am French, you know? When we have a meal, we have a glass of wine,” he said, adding that he hired a lawyer who “fixed it quick.”

For Laforge, working in the restaurant industry has allowed him to achieve his goals. Back in the 80s, he worked in a kitchen to pay for flight school.   He then worked as a pilot for 25 years and he is now ready to run a business at 2850 21st Street with his son Joseph and wife (also the chef) Maha to bring the bistro experience to the Mission.

Maha Laforge’s dream kitchen will serve French Mediterranean food including couscous, macarons, pâté and also other French traditional dishes.

The glasses and dishes set up between the kitchen and the seating area.

The glasses and dishes set up between the kitchen and the seating area.

“People can have a more sophisticated prepared meal,” said Laforge of the $15-$20 price range of the dishes they will be offering. “It fits with the neighborhood because it’s not a big chain, it’s not fancy and it will not be bringing cars to the neighborhood because it’s difficult to park here,” he said.

The bistro will also have a coffee machine for anyone who wants to relax and simply have a cup of coffee.

Laforge has already made sure that the entrance is ADA compliant, having brought a construction crew to modify the sidewalk. He has also requested the SFMTA to install two bike racks outside, and survey crews have already been to the site, he said.

Outside seating will also be provided at some point, but Laforge is not too worried about it, as he wants to see how the restaurant does the first few weeks.

He is also getting ready to hire his workforce locally.

When asked why he decided to open a business in the Mission, he said that the French-Tunisian bistro will allow the Laforge family to embark in a new life adventure that will allow them to stay in the city that they love.

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  1. Mel

    Congratulations to the Laforge family! Looking forward to trying this one.

  2. Chris

    Shouldn’t you be fanning the flames of gentrification instead of promoting one of its main causes (trendy restaurants) in the Mission? Or is this one of your buddies?

    • Lydia Chavez Staff

      Chris: Andrea walks around the neighborhood and stops in at various places that look new to her or interesting for some other reason. Sometimes readers ask that she check this or that out and she does. If she finds it compelling, she writes something up. Last week she stopped in at the Vigil at St. Peters and stayed through the march. She also visited SF International high School. We don’t count how many stories she is doing on new restaurants vs immigrants or tenants. We let her follow her own interests and we love what she does. If you have any suggestions please send them our way Best, Lydia

  3. SFrentier

    If they offer simple and budget minded weekday lunches, they will also get a lot of the tech office crowd that visits salumeria, American grill cheese, etc nearby. I know I’d be stopping by…

  4. Runforthehills

    Can’t wait to give it a try. I got a good laugh from ” the alcoholism problem of the neighborhood” line. Like the winos I see everyday are going to drop in there for a nice Bordeaux.

  5. Jaime Ross

    FYI anyone who owns a sit down restaurant with full table service and a working kitchen can file for a conditional use in order to have a beer and wine license within the Special Use District (of course they have to be reviewed by ABC first).
    So saying ” but his request was turned down quoting, “the alcoholism problem of the neighborhood,” is a little simplistic. I suppose the lawyer knew this and that’s why it was so easy to obtain one.

  6. James Fong

    Welcome to the neighborhood, much sucess.

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