Marc Grossman, the charismatic owner and driving force behind Bob’s Juice Bar in Paris, is an iconoclastic figure. A former award-winning scriptwriter and Harvard grad — something you’d never guess from his bohemian demeanor and laid-back character — his tiny juice bar located on a shabby-chic Canal Saint Martin backstreet has garnered rave press from the French gastronomic and expat community. That attention has led to cookbooks (Smoothies and the recently released Muffins, both from Marabout publications) and might put Grossman on the throne of France’s coolest juice empire.
Favorite Hangs: Cafezoid (kids cafe in the 19th); Ploum, a Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood; various little Asian restaurants in Belleville (don’t know names or addresses off hand). Gallerie Impaire on Rue de Lancry, which is the only art gallery I feel comfortable in, probably because they feature outsider art (i.e., art by crazy people). La boucherie, a used clothing store on my block. I can’t walk in without finding something I have to own and that I can actually afford.
Point of Origin: New York City (Manhattan). Studied filmmaking as an undergraduate at Harvard, did a bunch of odd jobs — none in food, some in film. Finally made an independent low-budget film called “Slipdream” (wrote and directed) under the name Marc Grant. (Grant was my family’s name growing up because my father is a jeweler, and when he was starting out, the Italian boss thought Jerry Grant sounded better than Jerome Grossman, so we grew up as Grant, but the name change was never official. Today I go by Marc Grossman and sometimes Bob.) The film is “Jack and the Beanstalk” as an allegory for drug addiction. Jack is a pot dealer, the beanstalk is a psychedelic plant, climbing the beanstalk = getting high … you get the idea. It has won all kinds of awards at some really rinky-dink film festivals that nobody has ever heard of. All and all, it was an embarrassing, painful experience, but I learned a lot. I’m a big believer in “success is built on failure.” I’ve been in France for eight years and am married to a French woman with whom I have two boys. I have had Bob’s Juice Bar for about two and a half years. Before that I worked in France, teaching English and translating scripts for Columbia Tristar among other clients.
Why a juice bar? I like juice bars. I come from a place where juice bars are as common as bakeries in Paris. There were practically none when I arrived in France … certainly none that I would call a real juice bar. It seemed like an obvious good idea to open one. I kept saying, “Someone should do this. I’m sure it would work.” Then one day I discovered this affordable space across the street from where I live and decided to bite the bullet. I was not planning on opening a juice bar. The plan was to finish the screenplay I was working on. Anyway, things rarely go according to plan. The screenplay remains unfinished.
Side Hustle: I have two kids and am a workaholic. I have almost no spare time. I like to do yoga and meditate in the mornings before work. I play guitar at the bar when I have some downtime. I sometimes watch stupid TV series like Dexter at night. I like to think that I go bowling regularly, but (that) actually only happens like twice a year (Porte de la Chapelle).
Projections: Setting up a bar a jus ephemere at the Bon Marche for Christmas. Trying to open a second location. Book idea too undeveloped at this point to really talk about it. Let’s just say it will be original and health-food related.