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Made With Love at Maldon’s Bistro

Photography by: Irina Popa

Maldon's Bistro Hero

Maldon's Bistro

Maldon’s Bistro: Where Gluten-Free Meets French-American Delight

Maldon’s Bistro, a French American eatery, transports you from Orange County to the streets of Europe with a gluten-free-accommodating menu that might have you saying Je T’aime Maldon’s (I love you, Maldon’s)! Savor a delectable combination of American and French cuisine, pastries and baked goodies made fresh daily without impeding your gluten-free lifestyle.

A breakfast and lunch café, Maldon’s Bistro opened in May and is an innovative family-owned and family-operated café in the financial district of Irvine. What started as a family affair named from a combination of family initials, is now run daily by Laura O’Neal, her husband Michael, and her brother David Nunez. The creative minds behind the delectable menu today are Chef Juan Carlos Tapia, and Pastry Chef and daughter Morgan O’Neal–who is currently staging with 3 Michelin star Chef Dominique Crenn in San Francisco.

Maldon's Bistro Pastry


Fun family note: Daughter Demi and her husband Andrew Parish, who were initially involved in Maldon’s Bistro, run Porch & Swing, a Charleston-inspired restaurant next door.

I had the opportunity to speak with Laura O’Neal about her innovative approach.

“I’m passionate about what goes into what we serve because years ago, I became very ill and learned I had Celiac disease,” O’Neal says, which can make people hypersensitive to gluten. “That inspired me to work in my kitchen testing recipes and creating great breads, entrees and desserts around our gluten-free concept.” 

O’Neal graduated with a science degree in biology from Chapman University and used her experience to craft a unique, proprietary flour blend that makes her dishes indistinguishable from those with gluten.

Maldon's Bistro Bread

“We haven’t had anyone come to us and say they could tell it was gluten-free,” O’Neal explains. “The majority of our customers don’t have any idea, and if they do ask, they say, ‘There’s no way that is gluten-free.’” The flour blend is a key ingredient in most dishes served and is also available for purchase at Maldon’s Bistro

There are many delicious items on the menu; some fan favorites include a homemade French onion soup, crème brûlée, nutella crepe, and decorative wedge salad all beautifully plated to give that authentic French feeling. The bakery offerings are both gluten- and seed-oil-free.


“We do really think about presentation,” O’Neal says. “All of our dishes are very thought-based, with a lot of detail that goes into the taste. It’s more of a home-cooked meal. It’s made with love; with our pastries, there’s nothing that looks like it’s been carbon copied or punched out. Our dishes have a more artisan look.” 

Since the grand opening of Maldon’s Bistro, O’Neal has emphasized the importance of the community connection that has been established between customers and her family. Working hard to make every experience unique and enjoyable, the O’Neals treat their customers like they’re part of the family. 

“It’s fun because we’ve made many good friends through the restaurant,” O’Neal says. “We treat them like family, and honestly, it’s a blessing; anyone that comes through that door, it’s such a blessing. We really care.”

Watch for exciting upcoming events that inspire Maldon’s Bistro customers to explore wine and cheese events. And keep an eye out for our Publisher Renee Dee, who can be frequently spotted at Maldon’s Bistro sipping the fantastic coffee, savoring the eggs benedict and always the guilt-free, gluten-free blueberry muffin.

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