In preparation for the upcoming Marinara Dinner at Amour Wine Bistro, I thought it would be cool to get to know the owner, Paul Heitz.
1) At a very high level, tell us the story about how/why you got into the restaurant business?
I always wanted to open a restaurant, I like to share my passion about food, wine and everything that goes with french gastronomy. When I was 16 I had to choose between high-school and French Ecole Hoteliere (4 years of culinary and restaurant/hotel management) My parents push me to pick the safest orientation.
With my jobs, traveling all over the world, I had the opportunity to taste and enjoy multiple cultures with their food and gastronomic experience. Growing up in France, the focus is on food. Every morning or other day, I would go to the market, like most French, get fresh ingredients form the season from local farmers. It makes you learn to work with what is in season. The pleasure of walking around the market is a unique experience with unique flavors, colors, taste. You learn to pick ripe fruits and choose vegetables depending on when you want to cook them. When I was teenager, I spent my time on the French Riviera helping a neighbor farmer pick asparagus, melons, tomatoes, and peaches in September; we harvested the vines for the wine as well. In all my extensive traveling I would find myself in restaurant 2-3 times every day.
I developed my restaurant concept based on my customer experience; what would be the restaurant I would like to go, what would make me come back often, what do I want to eat, what do I want to drink? The menu has to change weekly based on fresh ingredients from the current season. I want to have a wine paired with every dish, I want to drink great basic good wines, but also some times great wines that seem inaccessible in most restaurants.
Over all I want to share good food, good wine and my passion.
A friend told me, “coming to AMOUR WINE BISTRO is like going to Paul’s house, it’s the same experience, but now I have to pay.” He did mean it in the best way, he is very happy to come here and pay.
2) What excites you most about Amour Wine Bistro?
I live a passion. We can create new menus, experience new flavors, choose great, fresh ingredients, develop dishes perfectly paired with exceptional wines and share that with customers. My greatest pleasure is guest satisfaction. We work very hard to make the full experience at Amour a memorable and affordable event. The smiles, the comments,and the thank you’s from our guests are really our daily excitement.
3) When you do have a chance to dine out on the town. where do you go?
The restaurant is taking most of my time, I have a hard time to find an evening to go out. I wish I could go out and spend a relaxing evening some where else. Before the restaurant, I always liked Julep’s or Bistro Bobette. But I like to cook on Sunday night for my dinner.
4) Tell us a little about your chef?
Chef Rob Hamlin is amazing. When I met him I knew he would be great, we spoke the same language: fresh ingredients, fresh menu, simple but flavorful dishes, French bistro style: fresh with great flavor!
His experience with Du Jour, where he was changing the menu weekly was exactly what I was looking for. The first time we met we both talked about dishes and ingredients with the same passion.
Chef Rob was one of the founders of Positive Vibe Cafe and went to work for a short time at the Community Kitchen Non-Profit Organization, where he was in charge of over 1200 meals a day (not the same experience at the Bistro!)
5) What makes the French dining experience different than the typical American experience?
The French Gastronomy has been honored by the UNESCO: The gastronomic meal of the French
For the French, meals are very important. It’s a time to relax, to enjoy food, to enjoy a glass of wine, to enjoy the people around the table, to disconnect from the stress of the day. The French people take time for a meal, no rushing, it’s an important time to re-energize, eating good food, enjoying great flavors, good wine, good company.
6) Tell us what your ideal dining experience is like (location, menu, fellow diners, etc).
I am lucky to have many great dining experiences. Most of them were with my family, my friends, and most of them were in France. My ideal dining experience are many, some outstanding meals range from family meals that last 6 to 10 hours or from incredibly perfect dinners at 3 michelin stars restaurants, sharing a meal with people you love, it’s hard to choose, but why choose! I hope to have many more ideal meals in the future.
An ideal meal has to be shared with a few close friends and family, Create an occasion to celebrate so everybody is in a festive spirit; the table should be nicely set with table cloth, nice china and silverware, crystal glasses, elegant napkins, maybe a chandelier, flowers (details are important), an endless meal with 6-10 courses, an aperitif (champagne drink) beforehand with little hors d’oeuvres, 2-3 appetizers, a few amuse bouches, a fish, a meat, cheeses, a salad, fresh desserts, coffee, after dinner drinks. and small miniardises (desserts bites), of course it’s a slow pace and it should last few hours.