I fell in love with Maison May from the moment it opened its doors ( it’s two blocks away from my house! ) …and in that same moment I knew that I needed to meet the woman behind it all! Catherine is the tall and slender beauty behind both restaurants – and when meeting her you quickly realize her calm and wholesome energy is the same one you feel when you visit her restaurants. She created both restaurants with the intention to make people feel like home in her two spaces. I couldn’t be any happier to have this beautiful place in my neighborhood that transports me to the countryside of France yet also makes me feel like home.
If you’re ever around Fort Greene Brooklyn, swing by Maison May to enjoy a cup of coffee, scones and muffins or a full lunch! ( oh and don’t bring your computer – this place is not for laptop hangouts – plus trust me, you won’t want to stare at a screen in such a beautiful space – instead pick up one of the coffee books for sale and browse away).
Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you lived in Brooklyn and what do you do for a living?
Born & raised in Provence, France, I moved to NY in 1995 and after 2 years of frantic life in Manhattan, I moved to Clinton Hill/Fort Greene in 1997.
And as for what I do in my life? Right now, I own & run Maison May ( 2 restaurants/cafes/event space), raise my 2 teenage boys, dream about a cook & story book, source food & beautiful objects, train & empower staff , and as it is the summer, sun bath as much as possible on my deck…
What brought you here and what keeps you?
My 1st apartment in NYC in 1995 was on 52th & Lexington.
I moved there in October from Provence.
I remember waking up in panic on Thanksgiving Day that year – Something was wrong – really wrong & I could not understand where that feeling came from.
I rushed to the window & the streets were empty…The silence had woke me up.
It took me a couple of years to actually find my way to Brooklyn. After the 1st chock, Manhattan tantalized me. I think that eventually I was craving a balance, seeing trees & knowing my neighbors. I found all of that in Clinton Hill.
If we had one day in Fort Greene, Bk, where would you take us for breakfast, coffee, and dinner?
Maison May! Ahah!
No, just kidding…
But not really!
I will definitely start at Maison May with a cup or Tea & a baked oatmeal. And then would stroll to Provision on Fulton, grab something & head to Fort Greene Park to lay in the sun, in the grass. And I would wrap up my day at Roman’s with a delicious glass of Piedmont & a decadent meal.
What are your favorite shopping gems?
I love Anne Willi’s store on Atlantic Avenue (I go there when I want to look very French…).
Pip Squeak Chapeau in Greenpoint is a classic for the summer linen (and Lily the store manager is a sweet heart).
I recently discovered Engso in Nolita & I am obsessed with his leather cuffs!
And of course the Fort Greene Green Market for my weekly load of vegetables.
The set-up is so nice, along the park.
What’s your go-to drinking spot?
My deck with friends & a few bottles of Sparkling Rosé…
Where do you go to unwind?
A run in Prospect Park or a vigorous hot yoga class at Tangerine.
When you travel are you into mountains, beaches or cities?
BEACH! I am a total beach bum… Give me sun & water & I am in heaven.
Describe Fort Greene in three words.
Brownstone – Community – Village
Does living here inspire you? And if so, how?
The gentle line of the architecture of the brownstone, the abundance of trees, the scarcity of commercial spaces, the quasi-total absence of chains (expect on Myrtle) is incredibly soothing. We live in an over stimulating environment, constantly bombarded by images, news (worthy or not) & noise. Fort Greene allows me to catch my breath & turn down the volume.
What are some under the radar must – do recommendations for a Fort Greene, Bk visitors?
Under the radar in BK? Hahaha! You should have asked me that question 13 years ago.
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Her favorite restaurant: Maison May
Her favorite shop: Anne Willi
She unwinded at Tangerine Hot Yoga