Two French fixtures in the heart of Old Town

A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times

Two of the best loved places to eat in Alexandria, Fontaine Caffe and Creperie and Le Refuge, came about thanks to the dedication, diligence and unwavering pursuit of a dream by their respective owners. Residents and tourists alike rave about these two establishments.

Fontaine Caffe and Creperie is the culmination of years of work by owner and chef Kyong Yi to open her own restaurant. Nine years ago, Yi and her sister found a brick rowhouse at 119 S. Royal St. that was exactly what they were looking for. Together, they transformed the dwelling into a cozy, quaint cafe with a European feel. The setting is perfect for quiet conversations while enjoying a scrumptious meal.

Although Yi received her formal training from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, she began cooking for her parents, who both worked full time, and six siblings at the age of 12. The family raised organic vegetables in their backyard and Yi incorporated those into her family meals.

Yi’s mom was her first cooking teacher and stressed from a young age that “people can taste the effort no matter how simple the meal. Food is meant to be enjoyed.” Yi’s mother also encouraged her to always sample the fare she was serving, and “never take food for granted.”

After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Yi worked at some of D.C.’s most outstanding restaurants, including Teatro Goldoni, Galileo, the Ritz-Carlton and Sodexho Marriott at the National Geographic Society.

Now at Fontaine, Yi embraces the lessons of her mother and her professional training. She and her staff strive to ensure that every patron has a fabulous experience. Her personal goal is to serve the best crepes the D.C. area has to offer, using French traditions in an inviting and friendly atmosphere.

Just a few blocks away is one of Alexandria’s most popular dining spots according to Trip Advisor: Le Refuge. Le Refuge is owned and run by Jean Francois Chaufour. Although Chaufour is the head chef, his son-in-law, Hugh Fegnan, has taken the helm in the Le Refuge kitchen. Meanwhile, the service, wine, ambience and overall dining experience is overseen by Chaufour’s daughter, Anne Claire. This tight family team is passionate about providing excellent French country cuisine and ensuring guests savor their dining experience.

For Chaufour, Le Refuge is a dream come true. Born in Beaugency, in the Loire Valley of France, Chaufour started off as a waiter in D.C. when he came to the U.S. in 1976. His late wife Francoise also worked as a waitress while they pursued their goal of opening their own restaurant.

After seven years of hard work and saving, they opened Le Refuge in September 1983 at 127 N. Washington St. This cozy restaurant has been a prime dining spot ever since, not only with locals but also with denizens of the entire region.

Try these two fabulous French restaurants in Old Town and learn firsthand why everyone benefits from Yi and Chaufour successfully pursuing their dreams.

A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times