The warm, quaint, and homey eatery that is Jean Paul's House has just celebrated its one year anniversary on February 10. Located close to Wynwood , off of NE 2nd Ave. , the restaurant is literally a house, with a friendly front porch for outdoor eating and a delicately decorated interior. Peruvian chef and Owner, Jean Paul, delivers Bistro dishes with a Peruvian influence that have gathered quite the collection of regulars because of their great quality. Eater sat down with Jean Paul and his wife, Jill Olcott, and talked about one year in at the restaurant.
How did Jean Paul's House come to be?
Jean Paul: I've been in the restaurant business basically all my life. I had some problems with my business partner in my last restaurant here in Miami and I left. That was the end of 2009. After that I was in the food and beverage business working on some products that I was developing until this opportunity came up. I saw this small house, in this new place. That's when I decided to start thinking about having another restaurant.
Jill Olcott: He really likes the fact that it was off the beaten path, in a very underdeveloped area, and the charm of this house that was built in 1922. His mother tells me he's known he wanted to be a chef since he was seven years old! He wanted to make people feel like they were coming to our house and really feel at home.
How did the opening go? What surprised you about it?
JP: We didn't have a big party. Like a hundred people maybe. It was a rainy day. And it was really friends and family. I think it went really well. Everyone was happy.
JO: The opening went really well. We did some press initially with Urban Daddy and Thrillist the week before we opened. So we had a very, very strong flow of traffic through here. The kitchen worked really well because Jean Paul had guys working with him that had worked with him over so many years. So everything went really smooth and people loved the food and the service and the atmosphere. We really want to get the word out that we're here. We're very affordable, we're friendly and the food is divine.
How did the review process go with the critics?
JP: Really, really good. I think we haven't had any bad review. Everyone really likes the place and the ambience.
JO: We really only had positive reviews. Everybody loved the restaurant. But we need more local people to know that we're here.
What were some of the challenges that you faced?
JP: Well like always making a new restaurant has some challenges. This place didn't have a restaurant license, it didn't have a kitchen or anything like that. Everything had to be done little by little.
What has changed a year later?
JP: Now we have to worry about bringing the food and the restaurant to the next level. After one year people know more about us. Our next step will be finishing up the market. We want it to be Jean Paul's House and Market. We're going to have a little market in the next few months.
What has been your biggest success?
JP: The restaurant business is not easy so I think this is already a big success to be one year in and to be really crowded. I think we are very successful right now and we are very happy. We are where we need to be to put the restaurant in the next level. That is success.
JO: We have a strong base of regular clients, and that really says a lot. People come here twice or three times a week. And they all say the same thing. It's the quality of the food ? its so good, its so fresh.
What does the restaurant have in store for the future?
JP: Maybe a liquor license. But I think the concept of the restaurant is what we wanted it to be. The restaurant was projected like this and will continue to be like this in the future.
JO: We would like to do more events, wine tasting, wine pairings. We want to do more of that and finish the back room so we could have more private events back there.
When you're here in Miami and you're not at Jean Paul's House, where do you like to eat?
JP: Michael's Genuine for lunch and Kelly's Landing for steamers and lobster rolls. We don't have too much time.
JO: Matsuri for sushi.
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