La Felicità An extravagant restaurant

Opened at Station F, Xavier Niel’s startup incubator in the 13th arrondissement, La Felicità – happiness in Italian – is the Big Mamma group’s latest XXL challenge.

The group’s two founders, thirty-somethings Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, are building on the success of their restaurants – eight opened in three years, including this 4,500 sq.m. flagship.

They apply a Made in Italy approach, from the produce used to the 100% Italian team of Chefs.

La Felicità Plus grand restaurant d'Europe

55, boulevard Vincent Auriol, 75013, Paris
See itinerary

We have become used to the grandiose scale of the projects launched by Big Mamma’s founders. Mamma Primi, Ober Mamma, Pizzeria Popolare and the others are all 2.0 mega pizzerias and trattorias devoted to Italian cuisine. This time, though, the duo have surpassed themselves with the opening at La Halle Freyssinet (where Xavier Niel set up the renowned Station F, his startup incubator) of a food megastore of 4,500 sq.m., including a 1,000 sq.m. terrace. Barely opened, it is already a success. Paris’s entire foodie population has discovered with delight the gigantic food complex with its five kitchens, beer garden and huge cocktail bar.

Other attractions include a trattoria dedicated to fresh pasta, a panificio where the house bread is baked, together with focaccia, an authentic caffèteria serving iced, latte, filter and roasted coffee, a monumental outdoor BBQ serving a vast array of grilled food, a huge wood-burning oven for the pizzas and even a US-style burger pop-up

On weekends, there are musical brunches from noon to 7pm, together with a wide range of kid-friendly activities on the mezzanines for the youngest. Enough to make them want to put aside their game consoles for an afternoon! On top of all that, there is an amazing program of evening and weekend live music, admission free. You can see – or rather listen to – DJ sets from L’Impératrice, Sheitan Brothers, Theo La Mamie’s…, live performances from Alice & Moi, and many other acts. In short, there is all you need for a delightful break in a relaxed atmosphere.

Caffèteria 24/7 – Food & bars
From 11.45am to 2.30pm on Monday and Tuesday,
and 11.45am to 2am from Wednesday to Sunday.

4 questions to Big Mamma Group founders

La Felicità is the biggest restaurant in Europe. How many customers do you plan to serve there every day? And how is it different than your other restaurants?

It’s a place that changes throughout the week, with high points in the evening and on weekends. We’re working with Nova and indie labels such as Super! to put together all the musical programming, with live concerts from Thursday to Sunday evening, mass aperitifs, musical brunches on the weekend and kid-friendly activities. We can do all these things because of the colossal size of the place. Especially in terms of offer. At La Felicità, we have five kitchens – a trattoria, grill, pizzeria, panificio and burger popup with the Au Cheval team straight from Chicago. We also have three bars, including a cocktail bar with Passion Spritzes at €7 and a Biergarten with beers we brew ourselves and amazing draft cocktails at low, low prices. It’s really a great place to hang out, meet up and party.

Your eight restaurants are in hip or popular districts. Might you open others in smart, residential arrondissements such as the 16th?

In fact, it’s always been a question of feeling. We’ve been lucky enough to find places with incredible karma, and that’s what has made us want to commit to each location. It’s not really the district that matters to us, but more the potential of a spot, the chance to do something new. So why not?!

Does the Big Mamma group have a ‘superchef’ who supervises the kitchens of all the restaurants?

Yes. Ciro Cristiano is our executive Chef. He runs all our restaurant kitchens. But we also have a whole team of 100% Italian Chefs at Big Mamma. All are enthusiasts, forever creating new dishes and adding a ‘sexy’ personal touch to continually update their menus, which changes every month. They have a great time exploring every facet of Italian cuisine.

Are the small Italian producers you originally chose still able to supply you with large enough quantities of produce?

The quality of the produce is our greatest daily challenge. We’ll never cut corners there. So yes, we’re serving many more customers than two years ago. To get the quantities we need, we decided to increase the number of small suppliers. Today, rather than having a single producer of mozzarella, we have three.

By Manuel Mariani. Crédit photos : Joann Pai & Jérôme Galland. - Published the

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