Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurent Vrignaud.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Laurent. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a first-generation French immigrant. When I was 18 years old, I came to California from France with nothing but the desire to surf. I knew I wanted to stay in the U.S., so I got a job at a surf shop and waited tables at night to keep a roof over my head. I was able to windsurf daily, which at the time made it all worth it. The job at the surf shop sparked my first career as a sales rep action sports brands. After 30 years and tremendous success in that industry, I decided to pursue another passion of mine – and that’s when I set out to open Moulin.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As an entrepreneur, and as an immigrant, it’s never a smooth road – that’s what makes it interesting! One of the biggest challenges in starting and growing a business is finding employees who can enroll in your vision. It’s challenging to get people to care and be as passionate as you are about your venture. But when you find them, they’ll play an instrumental role in your success and growth.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Moulin – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
In 2014, I opened Moulin, an authentic French bistro-epicerie-cafe, in Newport Beach, CA. with the mission of making guests feel as though they have been transported to Paris. From the moment you step inside, Moulin transports you to France with the smell of fresh artisan bread, the sight of fresh chickens turning in the rotisserie, French music, and the sound of people speaking French.
But for me, Moulin is more than just delivering an experience; it is about fulfilling a lifelong dream. Born and raised in Montmartre, Paris, I created Moulin out of my love for the French bistro culture I’ve missed since moving to California in the 1980s. As a child, I would spend time after school in my grandparents’ Parisian market, serving customers and learning how to work with people. This experience taught me the value of hard work and I developed his work ethic. Today, Moulin allows me to share the story of France and its culture in the most authentic way possible — through the classic, artisan breads we bake and the traditional dishes we serve. Moulin is filled with vintage bistro tables, chairs, fixtures, art and other furnishings that I’ve been collecting in France during visits back home over the last 20 years in anticipation that someday, I’d own my own bistro – now we have four locations in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, and Costa Mesa.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My role at Moulin has always been to be the visionary of the brand. I’m able to grow the brand strategically and effectively because I am passionate about empowering my employees and placing them in a position where they can succeed and in doing so bring success to the whole of Moulin. I have a relentless passion for details and focus on the importance of curating People. Product. Place. I am the architect of Moulin and these are the three pillars defining the brand.
We have four locations and an antique store in Orange County and I’m currently working on locations five and six, which will also be in OC. The French in me is content and says “this is enough”, but the never-ending thrill of pursuing the American Dream continuously fuels my desire to grow.
- Salads & Sandwiches – $8-14
- Les Classiques – $5-23
- Tuesday & Thursday Prix-Fixe Dinner – $29
- Address: 1000 N Bristol St., Newport Beach, CA 92660
- Website: www.moulin.com
- Phone: 949.474.0920
- Instagram: @moulin
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moulinbistro
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/moulin-newport-beach