Replacing an icon: Calypso moving into Café de Paris space

By Brian Soergel | Aug 08, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Michael Chambers and Jennifer Myatt have purchased Café de Paris and plan to open Calypso, a Caribbean-themed restaurant, in the fall.

The story of Michael Chambers’ discovery of his future home for a restaurant is an at-this-moment Edmonds one, a mix of luck and contacts.

Chambers, a bartender at the Loft, was soaking up the atmosphere in Engel’s Pub on a Sunday night several months ago when he spied Firmin Berclaz, the longtime owner and chef at Café de Paris. Chambers had served Berclaz drinks in the past.

Half joking, Chambers asked Berclaz when he was going to retire and sell him the restaurant.

Berclaz’s reply: “I want to retire. How about now?”

Two days later, a deal was struck, and Chambers realized how lucky he was. “I’ve been looking for a place for a while,” he said. “It’s just so hard to get property in Edmonds. Once it’s listed, it’s gone.”

On Aug. 25, the landmark French restaurant at the bottom of Main Street will close it doors, and Chambers and his wife, Jennifer Myatt, will begin building their dream: Calypso, a Caribbean-inspired and infused restaurant.

Chambers and Myatt plan to put their restaurant and hospitality experience, gained through years in the business, to maximum use.

The couple – Chambers is 45 and Myatt 35 – met while working in the Cayman Islands. He was the co-owner of four restaurants and nightclubs, and she served diners in an upscale, fine-dining restaurant.

After marrying and deciding on a new adventure, the couple chose Puget Sound, as Chambers grew up in Silver Lake, in south Everett. Myatt is originally from Nova Scotia, and was OK with the idea.

“It snows in Nova Scotia,” she said, “and it doesn’t snow here very often.”

Chambers found work at the Loft, and Myatt at Salish Sea Brewery and then Salt & Iron, where she has been since its opening in March 2015.

But they’ll leave their jobs behind when they get the keys to their restaurant Sept. 1 and begin the task of remodeling, removing carpets, repainting, and taking out and putting in an actual bar, where now there is just a dining room. They both call it a “mini-facelift.”

The restaurant’s name has two meanings.

Chambers, who lived in Greece before moving to the Caymans, noted that, in Greek mythology, Calypso kept Greek hero Odysseus on her island of Ogygia for seven years in an attempt to make him her immortal husband. Later, pirates revered Calypso as the goddess of the sea, as Disney showed the world in “Pirates of the Caribbean” – both in the ride and the movies.

So there’s that.

More familiar, no doubt, is the definition of “Calypso” as an Afro-Caribbean music originating in Trinidad and Tobago that quickly spread to the rest of the Caribbean.

Think rum. Think steel drums. Think Harry Belafonte and “Day-O.” Then think rum again.

Chambers said Calypso will offer jerk chicken, of course, as well as fish dishes, ceviche, oxtail and varieties of pork, among other options.

Chambers himself will be the star bartender, where he plans “101 flavors of daiquiri” and assorted tropical and frozen drinks.

“I’ve been bartending all over the world,” he said, “so I can pretty much make anything.”

Chambers and Myatt hope to open in October and plan to add awnings and open up windows in the front of the building.

“We’re trying to do something different when it comes to food in Edmonds, with the Caribbean direction,” Chambers said. “No one’s really doing ceviche, but there are a lot of Italian and American bistro food options.”

The couple, who live in a home at Fourth Avenue South and Dayton Street, say they welcome the challenge of opening another restaurant in Edmonds, and are ready to be in charge after working at the Loft and Salt & Iron – which they both loved.

“This is going to quadruple our commute,” Myatt said with a grin.

 

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