In Marseille, a bistronomic restaurant behind bars

In Marseille, a bistronomic restaurant behind bars

All smiles, Amir* walks into a room with minimalistic and neat decorations, in shades of beige and brick, and explains to customers the four cocktails on the menu. Behind the bar, Khalo* tries to hide her stress by wiping glasses non-stop. White shirt and black apron, the waiters are busy taking orders, the cook and her servants are busy in the kitchen, the butler is giving advice to his team and slaloming between everyone to check that the service is working as it should.

Nothing distinguishes the Marseille restaurant Les Beaux Mets from the others except that it is located between the walls of a prison. Before sitting there, a customer had to go through a security gate, leave their personal belongings, from cellphones to money, in a cloakroom and book a table online at least four days in advance, as long as it takes for their criminal record to be checked.

“In the beginning it was a bit difficult, because you have to have a certain behavior towards customers, adopt a sustainable language, but these are reflexes to learn. » Khalo*, 22 years old

Les Beaux Mets, which opens to the public on November 15, is the first French bistro-style restaurant located in the heart of a correctional facility. Here, the Baumettes. Located near the Calanques National Park, the establishment will take place, more precisely, within the Support Structure Towards the Exit (SAS), the former women’s district. Prisoners in the SAS are persons who have been sentenced to sentences of less than two years or who have less than two years left to serve their sentences.

“I don’t really like being comfortable with customers, but with accessories, recognizes Khalo*, 22, for whom the restaurant industry is a real revelation. At the beginning it was a little difficult, because you have to have a certain behavior towards customers, adopt a sustainable language, but these are reflexes to learn. » On the daily menu a “vegetable monochrome” composed of creamy pumpkin and fried apricots, followed by lamb crumble with Brussels sprouts. Brownies “all chocolate” ends the meal consisting of three choices of starters, main courses and desserts, made only from fresh and local products. The menu will change every month and a half.

Seats 42, alcohol prohibited

Les Beaux Mets has forty-two covers, serves only a two-course lunch, and alcohol is prohibited. Thirteen trained inmates who work there are divided into two brigades. They alternate working days in a restaurant and others where they receive socio-professional support.

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