One of the interesting things about being an uncle is watching the personality of my sisters’ children develop. It’s fascinating. If you watch the Holybelly instagram you often learn something new about CFO (Sarah and Nico’s Louis) and as he grows, he’s learning how to express himself better. I feel the same way about HB19. It’s got the history of being in the original location, but the maturity of the lessons that the team learned at HB5 over the years (here’s a throwback to the pre-demolition party Nico and Sarah had before it was even the original and first Holybelly).
For those more recently joining the HB story, HB19 was where Nico and Sarah first opened the restaurant and started making the case for real breakfast in Paris. There were three of them and soon a few customers became much more, such that they had to open a much larger place down the street, the HB5 which many of you have come to know (and I hope, love, as I have) over the years. But in the meantime the team was working on renovations for the original spot and in February we were able to open.
It’s the same Holybelly team in the front of the house and the back of the house. The same attention to detail from where food is sourced, to how it’s cooked, to how it’s plated and brought to you. But HB19 is just a different side of the developing HB personality, as a restaurant and as a team. Nico has said more than once on this blog that he never wants to be complacent and always wants to keep new challenges in front of him. This new restaurant is a chance for the HB team to keep experimenting and challenging so we can bring you our best.
The music is a bit more mellow.
The decor is quiet and understated.
There is takeout. I repeat, takeout.
There are small plates in addition to three mains every day. Those mains are always one vegetarian, one meat, and one fish.
There are fewer seats and in almost any seat in the house you can see all the moments of our team and your fellow diners.
There is breakfast as you would expect, but we also have a full lunch service starting at noon.
There are also a couple wraparound banquette tables that can accommodate you and all your friends should you wish to spread all those small plates across the table and tell me what your favorites are (so I can write about it).
But perhaps more than anything, you can sit in the space where it all started, close your eyes, and imagine what it was like in those early days, before Holybelly was even learning to crawl, and open your eyes now, and see what the first steps as a toddler look like. Something I’ve always appreciated about Nico is that he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he is committed to learning every single day, and perhaps more importantly, asking the right questions.
Have you had a chance to visit HB19 yet? What are you waiting for? 🙂