Doyenne of New York bistros awaits her third act

Tue Sep 1, 2009 11:34am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Work crews are having their way, respectfully, with the innards of the fabled Manhattan restaurant La Goulue.

The brasserie, which has hosted everyone from actress Catherine Deneuve to rocker Bruce Springsteen, closed its doors last week and is being stripped bare of its mirrors, sconces and prized antiques.

But if Jean Denoyer has his way, his beloved bistro will soon again be kicking as high as the can-can dancer that it is named for.

"What I do comes from the heart. It's a lot of adversity, a lot of work, a lot of money, but we'd like to rebuild," said Denoyer, who co-owns the restaurant with Regis Marinier.

So he is warehousing the entire interior until he can relocate it.

La Goulue opened in 1972 and moved to its recent address in 1993. Now it's moving again because the landlord is rebuilding.

"I was very depressed on the first move," Denoyer said. "On the second I'm just a little sad. It's a shame to dismantle a restaurant that's extremely successful."

Thirty-six years ago Denoyer combed antique shops and flea markets to create his vision of a turn-of-the-19th century Parisian bistro on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side.

The wall mirrors came from antique shops and Irish bars, the pine wood panels from American forests. The bronze and glass wall sconces, signed by the renowned French designer Louis Majorelle, were another antique store find.   Continued...

<p>The Exterior of La Goulue, 746 Madison Avenue, New York City, is seen in this handout photo from 2008. REUTERS/Handout</p>