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La Madeleine Country French Cafe plans Baltimore expansion

Lorraine Mirabella

5:17 PM EDT, April 22, 2013

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Dallas-based chain of bakery/cafes La Madeleine Country French Café is eyeing the Baltimore area, with plans to open up to eight new franchised locations.

A Baltimore-area restaurant is expected to open in the next year, with several more opening shortly after, a company spokesman said Monday.

The restaurants in the Washington, D.C., market "are doing extremely well, and the company’s momentum in the mid-Atlantic region is fueling its growth toward Baltimore," said Jason Gilbreth, the spokesman.

He said La Madeleine, which also runs corporate-owned restaurants, is in talks with several potential franchise owners in the Baltimore area. Several more locations are in the development pipeline in the D.C. market.

The company got its start 30 years ago when entrepreneur Patrick Leon Esquerré, a native of France's Loire Valley, opened the first one in Dallas. The chain has grown to 60 restaurants, in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, Virginia and Maryland. Five Maryland locations include Annapolis and Columbia.

The company describes its cafes as featuring the tastes of the French countryside, with omelets and crêpes for breakfast, soups, salads, pastas and sandwiches for lunch, dinner entrees and French pastries, breads and snacks.

Each restaurant typically employs about 30 people.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com