How did an amazing builder/designer/artist/mechanic/dreamer end up bringing his windowless van of tools and creativity to Ypsilanti, Michigan?
He met this girl. A girl willing to meet up with a man that drives a windowless van for dinner. Over a few pints and fish and chips in Glendale, Ohio she learned about him, his gutsy move from Paris to Cincinnati, his love of water and his newest project designing a restaurant featuring a wood fired oven.
Designing and building an entire restaurant is not a trivial or simple project. Falling in love with a jaded American, taking her along on his first visit home in 18 years and then agreeing to pack up your entire life and livelihood to follow her to Michigan is just crazy. Reason and logic not withstanding, Pascal Lecoq did all of these things in one year and is still claims to be pleased with his decisions.
The design, demolition, repair and construction of M Wood Fired Oven was the largest and most ambitious project for Lecoq Construction to date. The plan was to renovate an older building in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati and transform it into a unique, one-of-a-kind eatery featuring foods prepared in an authentic wood fired oven. The owner envisioned a comfortable, intimate place where everyone could relax and enjoy good food and drink.
Pascal’s concept centered on the wood fired oven, but not just any wood fired oven, a four à bois hand-crafted of white clay in the Cote du Rhone wine region of France. (Just talking about the construction of this oven makes you hungry for fresh bread, doesn’t it?) The oven would then be surrounded with an 18 foot curved walnut bar and the entire place would be illuminated with reproductions of antique oil lanterns.
Before construction of the planned design could begin, the original wooden floor joists of the building had to be removed (the joists were later re-purposed as rough hewn wall covering in the dining area). The floor of the building was then re-in forced with a steel beams and joists and 17 tons of concrete. An added benefit to the overhaul of the sub-floor was additional space in the basement that was then upgraded to include a 15-keg beer cooler and 300+ bottle wine cellar.
If it sounds like this girl knows a lot about the construction behind this beautiful restaurant, she does, because she was there for every planning meeting, budget review, project success and setback. It was an exhausting, stressful project spanning about 10 months from the first day of demo until the grand opening in December 2012.
Our relationship and my involvement in Pascal’s work progressed quickly from our first date on February 29, 2012. At the beginning of the restaurant project I was just an interested, supportive girlfriend. By the time of completion, I was completely drawn into the artistry and success of a very creative, passionate man. My day job as a project manager and computer nerd allowed me to contribute a little assistance tracking project labor and material expenses. I loved the opportunity to research new materials and suppliers and enjoyed the daily challenges and excitement of Pascal’s creative process.
The restaurant project was completed in December 2012. The massive walnut bar glistened like a cherished antique under the illuminating glow of antique lanterns. The wood fired oven anchored the heart of the restaurant as both a warm, welcoming architectural feature and the foundation of the cuisine being served. M Wood Fired Oven opened with rave reviews on the Cincinnati restaurant scene and continues to be an attractive venue for diners seeking a relaxed, rustic atmosphere.