“They don’t even taste the ice cream,” Jessica Yang said of the social-media-conscious crowd that descended this summer on Folderol, a natural wine bar and artisanal ice cream parlor in Paris that she owns and operates along with her husband, Robert Compagnon. “They just let it pool right into a bowl of melting liquid and die within the sun.”
In late April, a each day line began to form outside Folderol’s red storefront because the business grew in popularity, thanks largely to TikTok. As the spring bloomed right into a summer that saw a record variety of tourists traveling to Europe, the lines became longer.
Throughout June and July, tourists and content creators flocked to Folderol, waiting for hours on its otherwise quiet eleventh arrondissement street in order that they, too, could recreate what that they had seen online: fashionable folk sitting on Parisian curbs, eating ice cream from steel coupes, smoking cigarettes and swigging wine.
Both 37-year-old chefs, Ms. Yang and Mr. Compagnon met in Paris in 2010 while working within the kitchen of the highly acclaimed restaurant Guy Savoy. Mr. Compagnon, who’s French American, and Ms. Yang, who’s Taiwanese American, spent the subsequent few years between Paris and New York City, working at restaurants including Le Jules Verne, Momofuku Ko, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and Per Se.
The couple opened Folderol in December 2020, one door down from their intimate Michelin-star-winning restaurant, Le Rigmarole. As latest parents, they were inspired to start out a family friendly business. “We wanted it to be a spot where parents and youngsters could go and have a good time,” Ms. Yang said about their hopes for Folderol. “Parents could have a glass of wine; kids could have some ice cream.”
Because of coronavirus restrictions, when Folderol opened, it was takeout-only. Customers would pick up a bottle from the bar’s curated collection of small-batch natural wines or a pint of seasonally inspired ice cream, hand-churned by Ms. Yang in a labor-intensive, 48-hour process.
As the pandemic eased, customers were allowed inside Folderol, but given its limited indoor seating and the al fresco dining culture of Paris, many patrons selected to eat and drink outside. This gave rise to Folderol’s curbside aesthetic, which garnered mass appeal on TikTok.
“So I keep seeing people post photos and videos from this place in Paris called Folderol, and I’ve truthfully never felt like I needed to go someplace greater than I do immediately,” Anna Hyclak, a 35-year-old American living in London, said in a TikTok video in June. “Spiritually, it is looking to me. Like, I feel like it will cure my depression to take a seat on these sidewalks.”
Ms. Hyclak’s reel garnered over 20,000 likes and 167 comments, most lamenting Folderol’s viral fame. One TikTok user wrote: “I live really near this place and it’s totally not possible to go now. The line is large and filled with teenagers/TikTokers in any respect times.” Another commented: “I went and it felt like a photograph shoot set. Like I’m sure it was amazing before but now it’s all the style girlies going there for content.”
Many of Folderol’s longtime customers were delay by the group. “Last summer I used to are available on a regular basis,” said Samantha Luevano, a 27-year-old copywriter in Paris. “I used to take a seat outside and eat my ice cream and drink wine casually. There’d be like five people here.” This summer, Ms. Luevano selected to select up pints of ice cream and bottles of wine at Folderol as a substitute of dining in because, she said, the hectic atmosphere caused her “anxiety.”
Mr. Compagnon likened the situation to “running a marathon in flip flops.” Their small operation struggled to maintain up with demand. Frustrated clients began leaving the business negative reviews. The pretty ice cream coupes, which the owners found at Parisian flea markets, began to go missing. On 4 occasions, neighbors called the police concerning the crowd.
“We wanted our popularity to be based on the standard of the food and what we produce,” Mr. Compagnon said. “We didn’t see this coming.”
In late May, Ms. Yang and Mr. Compagnon began instituting a series of measures, which they call “roadblocks,” in an try and regain control of Folderol.
First, they decreased the variety of wine glasses that they had available to place a cap on the number of shoppers they might serve without delay. Then they hired a bouncer to assist their staff with crowd control. Next, they put up signs to the correct of Folderol’s front door that read, in English: “No TikTok” and “Be here to have a good time, to not take pictures.”
In July, they banned guests from sitting outside entirely — an unpopular measure with those that had come simply to pose. “‘Oh, we will’t sit outside and take pictures?’” Mr. Compagnon said, imitating customers who weren’t aware of Folderol’s latest rules. “And in order that they just leave.”
While Folderol was on its annual August break, the pop star Dua Lipa named Folderol as one among her “favorite French restaurants” in a Vogue France video. Despite Ms. Lipa’s shout-out, the atmosphere was noticeably calmer when Folderol reopened on August 30. “We’re feeling higher,” Mr. Compagnon said. “People appear to be way more understanding.”
Bianca de la Luna, a 25-year-old model from Germany, visited Folderol the day it reopened. After admitting that she had learned about Folderol on TikTok, Ms. de la Luna whispered, “I don’t need to say that too loud in here.”
“I’d like to take the Instagram picture with the ice cream and wine,” said her friend Huy Nguyen, an 18-year-old art student. “But now it’s forbidden.”