Bjorn Bartolo

Manouche Craft Bakery & Bistro Co-Founder and Director Bjorn Bartolo is eagerly awaiting the start of 2024, as the restaurant chain is poised to expand its network with four new outlets.

Since it opened the doors of its first restaurant in Spinola, St Julian’s back in 2018, Manouche, known for its French pastries, has grown rapidly, with outlets now also open in Valletta, Bay Street (St Julian’s), Mosta, and Gozo. Additionally, the brand also converted one of its previous outlets in Paceville (St Julian’s) into a new sister brand, Detroit Diner, focused more on American dishes.

After what has been a year of further expansion for Manouche, as part of this year’s end-of-year series, Mr Bartolo was contacted by MaltaCEOs.mt to offer a recap of the year and to share his goals for 2024.

Mr Bartolo stated that the best way to sum up his 2023 is through the words “challenging, rewarding, and ambitious”.

“This year has been a very challenging one as we have officially opened Detroit Diner in Paceville as well as two new Manouche franchises in Mosta and Gozo. It has been extremely rewarding to see all the new outlets doing well, as well as our other outlets flourish and grow their clientele,” he explained. He added that during the year, Manouche also branched out to outside catering and corporate orders, and since then, it has held a “strong position” with other catering companies, whilst still “maintaining its roots and keeping all servings hand crafted.”

Mr Bartolo highlighted that of the accomplishments from 2023, he is most proud of the opening of the Detroit Diner, as it was an idea he had been working on for the past few years, creating a brand that is “sought after amongst all Detroit-style pizza lovers”.

He confirmed that 2024 is expected to be another “big and important year” for Manouche, with two new outlets set to be opened, while two other sites are “in the pipeline”. Mr Bartolo added that there are also plans to have a “bigger playing field” for Manouche’s bakery.

“In a year’s time, I see myself with four new Manouches and the launch of a new brand. 2024 is going to be a super year,” he added.

He said that these achievements are possible because of the restaurant chain’s growing team, who Mr Bartolo described as “superstars”, as well as its customers.

Moving on to how he is set to celebrate the turn of the year, Mr Bartolo said that he will most likely spend New Year’s Eve with his family, while the following day will be dedicated to helping the team at the flagship Manouche outlet in Spinola through a “very busy lunch”.

Similarly to how his New Year celebrations will involve being present for his team, Mr Bartolo’s daily routine tends to be very closely tied to Manouche and Detroit Diner’s operations. He is seeking to make some subtle changes to this in 2024, dedicating more time to daily exercise and to his family, who he “missed too many moments with due to work.”

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Manouche Craft Bakery & Bistro Co-Founder and Director Bjorn Bartolo

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