U.S. Expat “Opens Shop” in Paris, France

Not far from the historic Bastille, in the trendy Marais district of Paris, France is an unlikely restaurant. While most people associate the French capital with fine dining, foie gras, croissants and steak tartare, one Texas woman has made her mark with slow-smoked pulled pork and beef brisket, topped off with spicy house-brand Kick-Ass barbecue sauce.

The Blues Bar-B-Q diner is the dream come true of 55-year-old Diana Darrah, who left Dallas for a new life in France nine years ago. “I always felt comfortable in Paris and thought to move here one day. My mother was Parisian. I finally took my opportunity to move in 2003. I was divorced and my two sons were grown up. I felt the need for a new life, to rediscover myself and my talents.”

Diana wasn’t ready to retire and with a background in hospitality, she set her sights on opening a restaurant. Eventually, she decided on a barbecue venue and in 2010, her 34-seat restaurant opened its doors.

Love found Diana again in Paris and her new husband Moe is now her co-chef. His specialty is a crowd-pleasing cheesecake with fresh strawberry sauce. “Moe is super in the kitchen. I feel better in front of house meeting the customers. It’s gratifying introducing a new cuisine and concept to Paris as well as sharing my Texas roots with an interested audience.”

The Blues Bar-B-Q is popular with French and expats alike. “The American expat community found us from the beginning. They spread the word quickly via the Internet.”

However, curious locals also began showing up. “We became their little discovery,” says Diana. “Now, I would say that 70% of our clientele is French.”

Diana and Moe have both been able to travel through much of France. She adds, “The only area we haven’t been in France is Brittany.”

Bottom line for Diana is that living and operating her own business in France continues to be a dream come true. “I fell in love with France from my first visit. I had always dreamed of living in Paris but life kept detouring my plan. Although I miss Texas from time to time, I’m very happy to be here. I’m still in awe of this city.

“There’s so much history and always something to see and do. This city never sleeps, and it’s compassionate and safe. I love that there is always activity around me in the cafés and on the streets.”

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