Jean-Claude Constant is the Owner/Host of Pomme-Frite, a restaurant specializing in French & Belgian Cuisine. Jean-Claude brings the ambience of a cafe in Brussels in his native Belgium to the heart of downtown Palm Springs.
Jean-Claude, you opened Pomme-Frite in 1999, and I have enjoyed dining there ever since! What led you to open your own restaurant?
Back in 1995, I reunited in Palm Springs with a friend of 20 years from my home town in Belgium. We were both between jobs and decided to join efforts and open the restaurant.
You were born, raised, and educated in Belgium. What brought you to the United States, and specifically Palm Springs?
I left Belgium in 1983 because of the high tax system, and I didn’t like the rainy weather! I went to work on cruise ships for five years, decided to move to the states, and after several stops decided to stay in Palm Springs.
I like the sunny weather and the fact that having a business in Palm Springs allows me to have a vacation in the summer months.
Pomme Frite Restaurant has attracted a serious following of food aficionados since its opening in 1999. What is the secret to your success?
Consistency and reasonably priced food.
One of my favorite dishes is your Moules à la Marinière (steamed black mussels) with–of course–pommes frites served in a paper cone. What other dishes do you consider to be your specialties?
The other specialties our customers adore are the Flemish-style Beef Stew (simmered in Belgian beer) and the Chicken Vol-Au-Vent with mushrooms and cream.
When you’re not welcoming locals and visitors alike to enjoy dining at Pomme Frite, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Before operating a restaurant I did enjoy a game of golf or a trip to the ocean, but lately I don’t find myself with much downtime!
You’re involved in not only your own business, but with Main Street Palm Springs (where you serve as Treasurer) and the Palm Springs Hospitality Association. What upcoming Palm Springs area project or event would you say you’re most excited about?
Any event that will come to downtown Palm Springs, I am a fervent believer that we should have an event all 52 weekends of the year, but we could start with one every month and build up, we still have too many dark week ends without holidays or events.
Please share with us some of your favorite restaurants (other than your own, of course!), retail stores and hot spots to enjoy in Palm Springs.
Le Vallauris of course, where my fellow compatriots do a fantastic job. I also like to shop at Don Vincent Menswear and at the Cabazon Outlets, and it’s always fun to watch the games at the Village Pub.
And what is it that you love most about Palm Springs?
The feeling of a small town atmosphere that reminds me Belgium, the nice weather of course, and the fact that every day I meet interesting people from all over the world.
Thank you for chatting with me today, Jean-Claude Constant. I look forward to enjoying some Mussels and Pommes Frites with you soon!