La Bonne Maison serves up classical food with modern twist

Published on Thu, May 15, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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La Bonne Maison serves up classical food with modern twist

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

Six tables, neatly dressed in black and white, are intimately placed throughout the room. A happy host pours a glass of white wine, as the chef diligently creates a delicious masterpiece in the kitchen. A weaved basket of warm, sourdough bread sits on the table, accompanied by a whipped butter spread offering the combined taste of rosemary, garlic, and other herbs grown in the garden outside. The music is soft and sweet, the experience delicate and enticing. Welcome to La Bonne Maison.

Formerly run by Annie and Ed Magner, Mario Medina and Kent Gillespie now call this restaurant their work of art, offering classic cuisine with a modern twist, in a warm, local environment.

But Medina and Gillespie, both local residents with broad backgrounds in the dining world, never expected La Bonne Maison would be in their hands.

�If you asked me six months ago if I was going to be here,� Medina said. �I would have thought no way.�

But early this year, a joke happened. On New Year�s Eve, Medina was having dinner at the restaurant, when he jokingly asked the owners if they would sell him the restaurant. �I had dinner here, and I said I love this place,� Medina said.

Several months later, the restaurant was his and Gillespie�s. �It all clicked. It made a lot of sense,� Gillespie said about his initial feelings. �I had a real positive feel when I first came in here. We fell in love with the place.�

Since then, with the usual business adjustments, the two have been serving up delicious meals to the public. �It�s very, very nice,� Medina said. �There have been some adjustments, but you look at restaurants the way you look at kids, very much so. You have an idea of how things should go, and then��

Business is doing well, overall, and items on the menu are expanding, both in subject and in taste.

�We�re doing quite well, we�ve been open since March,� said Gillespie, whose culinary background is largely cajun-style, influenced by his time spent in New Orleans. �The menu�s being developed, bringing it up a notch to have some more interesting products such as veal, duck, lobster, quail, rabbit.�

The wine list is also growing, Medina said. Currently, the list is comprised of red and white wines from the Pacific Northwest, Chile, Argentina, Australia and Uruguay. �As business continues, the wine list will certainly expand, and we�ll have more to offer.�

They both say they�re planning a long-term commitment at La Bonne Maison and are looking forward to running their own operation. �I want this to be my last job,� Gillespie said. �I�m in it for the long haul.�

La Bonne Maison is located on Peace Portal Drive and is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. Private parties and lunches are available for up to 30 people, and can be scheduled on Sundays and Mondays as well as regular hours. Reservations are suggested, and can be made at 332-6178.

�Everything is made right here, and it does take a little while longer, but it�s worth it,� Medina said. �We�re growing, and the menu�s growing.�