Laurent Pellet, who hails from Lyon, France, is behind the bakery, Maison Alyzee.
He bought the Castro Street space from the owner of seafood restaurant Drunken Lobster, which closed in October. The restaurant added pizza to its menu last year, and the location will continue to serve just pizza until Pellet closes for renovations at the end of the month.
Maison Alyzee will serve traditional French pastries, fresh-baked bread, coffee and lunch items like sandwiches and salads. Pellet is sourcing some ingredients and equipment from France. ("The butter is a no-brainer," he said.) There will also be a small selection of French wines.
This is Pellet's first venture in the food industry. The Menlo Park resident moved to the Bay Area from France in 2011 to start an intellectual property licensing company, which he ran for the last six years. He said his interest in baking lies in creating a quality product — not just the baked goods themselves, but the overall experience of the bakery.
"It's not only about the baking; it's about providing a memorable customer experience to the people who come," he said.
Pellet said he's been working on the bakery project for four years. He's convinced three top French pastry chefs to move here to help launch the bakery.
The ultimate goal is to open several Maison Alyzee locations on the Midpeninsula and San Francisco, Pellet said.
Pellet named the bakery for his youngest daughter. He hopes to be open in late January.
There's an increasing number of bakeries on Castro Street, including Alexander's Patisserie, La PanotiQ (both French) and the forthcoming C'est Si Bon.