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Madeline 1982: La Nouvelle France in Lake George

Madeline 1982: La Nouvelle France in Lake George June 19, 2024
Marie-Line Alvernhe
Marie-Line Alvernhe

Once a gas station, then a pizza parlor, then a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership, the former eyesore opposite the Tiki motel on Route 9 is now, for Lake George, an unusually distinctive building; of even greater significance, it houses a new French bakery and restaurant.

After months spent supervising renovations, Marie-Line Alvernhe opened the new business, called Madeline 1982, in May.

Coffee and freshly baked breads are available for purchase and are, of course, offered with the restaurant’s breakfasts and lunches.

(Lake George water is perfect for baking, she said.)

“If France hadn’t lost the war in the 1750s, Lake George might still be French,” said Marie-Line. “So I think it’s nice to have a representative of France here.”

In fact, she calls her restaurant “a piece of France.” That’s no exaggeration. Almost everything, from the cooking to the interior design, to the furniture and silverware, comes from her native region – Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. “Everything was brought by container ship,” she explains. “I plan to spend a lot of time here, so I wanted it to feel like home. Having things like my grandmother’s table, where we took every Sunday meal together, makes me feel at home.
The suitcases and steamer trunks that adorn the eaves and shelves represent freedom and travel – also prized by Marie-Line.

Decorating and furnishing the restaurant became a form of self-expression, she said.

“I’ve studied the arts, especially painting and drawing, and I love decoration. In fact, my hope is that artists will feel free to use this space occasionally as a place to work,” she said.  Live music may also be offered in the off-season, she added.

Because of restrictions attached to her type of visa, Marie-Line cannot work in the kitchen; she can, however, create recipes and instruct her staff in the traditional French arts of baking and cooking.

“Food should come from the heart,” she says. “That’s the spirit of French cooking, which I am trying to impart to the staff. If it’s just a job, the customers will feel that. There will be nothing pleasurable about the experience.”

Marie-Line must leave the U.S. shortly in order to apply for a new visa.

When she returns, she will start making French pastries as well as serving dinners.

“We will offer a full French meal, from starter to the cheese and dessert course. The menu will change according to the seasons,” she said.

Once she obtains a license to sell liquor, she hopes to be able to import wines directly from France.

“Although I’ve sampled cuisines from around the world, my cuisine comes directly from my family. I’ll keep to the French style. That will never change,” she said.

Madeline 1982 is located at 2245 US Route 9, Lake George. Call 518-685-3252.

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