Scott Crawford brings Paris experiences to Raleigh with new French bistro Jolie

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Something special happened when Scott Crawford took his family on vacation to Paris. Now he's bringing home that experience to Raleigh.

"The restaurant is inspired by French bistros that we experienced in Paris," Crawford told ABC11. "It made me think we really should bring a piece of this to our neighborhood and create this energy and this happiness that we experienced."

Crawford gave ABC11 an exclusive first look tour inside his new French bistro, Jolie, located next door to his Crawford and Son restaurant on Person Street in Raleigh.

"French bistro food is just fun," Crawford said. "It's fun for the diner, it's fun for the cooks, it's fun for the chefs. It's just a fun cuisine."

Crawford has been working on the design, construction, and menu for his new bistro over the past year.

He created a menu of French classics, with a modern twist, at a restaurant named after his daughter.

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"This is a tribute to my daughter who is a very free-spirited, fun young lady," said Crawford. "I hope that when you walk in the door you'll be greeted with warmth and you'll have a good time the entire time you're here."

Crawford hired Madison Tessener to be his Chef de Cuisine. It's a homecoming for Tessener, who attended Millbrook High School, and the College of Charleston, and went on to make a mark on the food scene at some of Charleston's finest restaurants.

"We cook very well together," Tessener said."It's just been so organic, it just was the right move. It's just so fun I've really enjoyed it."
Crawford and Tessener were both trained in classical French cooking and they believe Jolie is a natural fit.

"We are honest with each other if we like something, if we don't like something," Crawford said. "We talk about things that we want to put out there, things that I want to express, things that she wants to express to our community through our food."

Krystle Swenson, the pastry chef at Crawford and Son is pulling double-duty, expanding her talents for the first time to an entire selection of classic French desserts.

"It's nerves, it's all of this anticipation. But it's also exciting at the same time," Swenson said about the preparations to open Jolie.

Jolie is built around an open kitchen and it's designed to have the cozy feel of a Paris bistro, with just 28 seats. Crawford also created a rooftop deck surrounded by greenery with an additional 32 seats.

"This is going to be a high-energy bistro like you would experience in France or New York," said Crawford. "There is an energy about it. There's an energy with the guests, there's an energy in the kitchen."

Jolie opens Friday, Aug. 23.
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