Sep 28th, 2018, 04:49 PM

The Hood, Our Home

By Sage Theiss Sakata
Michaël Boucher and manager Florent Marcault. Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata
More than just a neighborhood coffee shop.

Situated in the diverse and social Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, The Hood establishes itself as a neighborhood coffee shop. However, after sitting down with the co-founder Pearlyn Lee, it is clear that is is much more going on here. "We wanted to create a space where people can reconnect in a physical way through universal elements," said Ms. Lee. Promoting creative collaboration, The Hood is a space to bring people together. The Hood is for everyone- locals, tourists, visitors, musicians, entrepreneurs. Lee emphasizes that The Hood is also a home, a place that is safe for anyone of any color, nationality or religion. She believes there shouldn't be such a divide; this is the place to share common interests. "Everyone loves the Beatles or fried chicken," she laughs looking down at a plate of fried chicken that co-founder Khanh-Ly Huynh ran out to her.

Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 

Ms. Huynh, the winner of Masterchef France 2015, is the creative mastermind behind the menu. The South East Asian Inspired menu features all in-house spice mixes with vegan and gluten-free options. In the mornings, petit-déjeuner is offered- plats filled with brownies, carrot cakes, tarts, and their famous Pandon chiffon cake are put out for display on the counter for customers to grab while choosing from coffee drinks, teas, golden milk and so much more. Unlike most coffee shops, the customers are also offered East Asian inspired dishes such as Congee and transitioning into lunch, bahn-mi, pho, and coconut rice bowls. Ms. Lee explains that the menu comes from her and Ms. Huynh's roots, "We feel like as much as we love avocado toast, there’s already more than enough places that do that and I think we like to see ourselves as countering trends, bringing new ideas into Paris, and especially the lesser known ideas," she said.

The carrot cake (gluten free) and Pandon chiffon cake. Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata

The Hood is a part of a neighborhood community. Part of the creation of the menu was to provide a coffee at daybreak to a neighborhood that is traditionally known as a bar area. Though the location of The Hood happened by chance, Ms. Lee explains that is exactly where they are supposed to be. "It’s such a melting pot here and I think it fits completely the identity we are trying to build," she said. Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud located in the 11th arrondissement, is just a few streets away from the hip, bohemian and buzzing atmosphere of Oberkamph which has been in the process of gentrification. The area is also home to many cultures and religious groups. The area is home to Muslim and Islamic mosques, a Senegalese community and Chinatown. "It’s such a diverse mix here," says Lee. Even while undergoing gentrification, the area is lesser known. "There's street spirit," Lee smiles gazing out the window. She explains that she hopes to collaborate more with neighbors and local businesses in the coming years.

The golden milk. Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 

Besides the friendly neighborhood dynamic, The Hood baristas are welcoming and always open to good conversation. Manager Florent Marcault has always had an interest in coffee. He started out working at Starbucks but is happy to be working at The Hood now for a year and a half. Mr. Marcault explains that he loves talking with customers and is able to have a more personal relationship with them at The Hood then he was able to with customers at Starbucks. "There is a diversity of people coming in and we try to bring people together through coffee, stories, workshops, and exhibitions," he says. Mr. Marcault explains that sustainability is really important to them and worth the extra cost. The Hood only uses bioplastic, "We want to go greener, encourage others to change habits and be more responsible," he said. AUP student and Hood regular, Lauren Williams, says she loves the food and reasonably priced coffee. "It's a lively a warm addition to a neighborhood that's sometimes overlooked by non-natives," she said. 

Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 

Ms. Lee got the idea for The Hood after participating in a street jam during Fête de la Musique in Geneva. She began to get excited after retelling the story of her experience. While looking for a restroom, Ms. Lee saw a man playing piano in the middle of the street and went to join him. "I was there for four hours as it grew from two of us to a hundred people jamming and singing all night," she said. At this moment, she has a realization. "There are so many people from all over the world singing together, it is so powerful," she said. The hood is yours, The Hood is home to anyone. A place where creativity will continue to be nourished. 

Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 


Address and contact: 

80 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris 

Paris Metro: Line 2 (Couronnes), Line 3 (Parmentier), Line 5 (Oberkampf)

+33 1 43 57 20 50  |

Coffee House: Daily 8H-18H (except Tuesday)

Neo-bistro: 3 nights a week from 19H-22H (Thursday to Saturday)


Instagram- @thehoodparis