Dear PhinneyWood readers, as 2019 winds down and turns to 2020, we are taking the time to highlight some of our incredible neighborhood businesses that make PhinneyWood what it is. We will return to regular news and events Monday, January 6.
A European-style café in Greenwood? It may be hard to believe for co-owners JJ Wandler and Steve Drzewicki that their low-key restaurant in the heart of Greenwood, Gainsbourg, is turning 10 years old later this month.
Conceived of and opened in 2008 as the last recession was in full swing, Gainsbourg’s location was in the midst of the grittiest part of our neighborhood at that time. “It was a struggle”, recalled Drzewicki, “It was the recession in a developing neighborhood and we wanted to bring in entry-level French food. We weren’t particularly welcomed”.
They have come a long way from $10 steaks and the first curious patrons poking tentatively at buttery escargot. “No matter what idea you have for a business, you have to listen to the neighborhood and change to fit,” opined Drzewicki. The result of 10 years of tinkering is an approachable, French countryside-inspired, non-pretentious cuisine that is enjoyed by a decade or regulars and new faces in the area. “Once people aren’t scared of the snails any more, they come back for the duck and boar.”
Both JJ and Steve worked extensively in the food industry before coming together to create their restaurant, named after the infamous French musician and artist Serge Gainsbourg. When a “couple of punk rock guys want to start an edgy French place,” what better “patron sinner” to have than a revered drinker, smoker, and eater?
Gainsbourg is indeed as unique and appreciated as the person it was named after, and has become a beloved part of our community as it has changed and evolved.
8550 Greenwood Ave N