Josh Fontaine grew up in Woodstock, CT before moving to NYC at age 18. After a decade in the Big Apple, he headed to Paris to get a Masters in International Relations, at AUP and the Sorbonne. He finished all the coursework, but opened taqueria-and-cocktail-bar Candelaria in lieu of completing his thesis.
A satisfying alternative—especially when walking into one of his bars on a good night, when everything is like clockwork and “the room is just alive.” He’s especially pleased seeing employees slowly gain skills and confidence as they improve through dedication and hard work.
It’s something that mirrors his own elaborate professional trajectory. As a teenager, he worked at a local restaurant, moving from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook before leaving for college.
While a student at NYU, he worked for the iconic live music venue Irving Plaza: everything from distributing flyers to PR to running the ticket office. Later, he began picking up bartending shifts (Orchard Bar, Double Happiness, Palais Royal), and got a job at September Wines & Spirits to learn more about the wine industry.
In Paris, bartending while in school to pay the bills, he met Carina, his then-manager. Their friendship helped set the foundation for what is now Quixotic Projects. Outside the job, he plays guitar, cycles, and attends concerts. His French is quite good and his Spanish is extremely poor.
He lives in the ethnically diverse hub of Belleville, which contains quite a few unsung gems of Paris, as well as amazing Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants.