ABOUT LA BRASSERIE
Located in the iconic Brasserie Les Halles space on Park Avenue South, Francis Staub, founder of the fabled cookware company (Staub) brings gourmand cooking to New York. A celebration of the French brasserie — restaurants loved for their casual, convivial atmosphere, ingredient-driven dishe,s and extensive Old World wine menu — La Brasserie was created with both indulgence and daily pleasure in mind.
Francis Staub was born and raised in Alsace, in the city of Colmar. Little did he know when he started his cookware company that the stork, the emblematic bird representing Alsace and the logo of his company, would become a global brand. It is in fact, to this day, the first global Alsatian brand.
Francis Staub became fascinated with New York for the same reason many Europeans do: there is buzz, a sense of life and energy the city exudes, a vibe that can be addictive. He fell in love with New York and decided to do something special in the city. In 2013, with the support and approval of Leslie Koch, the then president of the trust for Governors Island, Francis Staub hosted a fairground festival called La Fête Paradiso, a massive outdoor fairground party of antique merry-go-rounds that people could try out and ride. For three months, dozens of these exhibits were hosted on Governor Island, with tens of thousands people visiting.
In 2018 Francis Staub went on to acquire the rights to use Les Halles, Anthony Boudain’s former iconic restaurant. He had met Mr. Bourdain a few years beforehand. They spoke for some time about their common passion: food. The new restaurant, La Brasserie, was due to open in early 2020, however, the pandemic hit the New York City hospitality industry with full force. Finally, in March 2021, La Brasserie opened its doors to a crowd of support in search of traces of Anthony Bourdain within a new setting and design, but with the exact same mission: to delight customers with an experience that enables them to enjoy the moment.
From Les Halles to La Brasserie: Labor of Love
The legendary Brasserie Les Halles, made famous by the late, Executive Chef Anthony Bourdain, closed its doors in 2017. Serving as inspiration to his book, Kitchen Confidential, Les Halles occupied a historical space inside the 100-year-old, three-story, steel-framed, masonry-clad building, and was originally designed to evoke the atmosphere of a traditional French brasserie. The millwork of the original entrance doors, bar, and host station were echoed in traditional column enclosures and egg-and-dart details on the coffered ceilings. Plaster walls and ceilings were coated with custom painted finishes, and brass trim contributed to the overall design effect.
The new La Brasserie reallocates the former Les Halles’ space to enhance functionality, transformed by providing a modern interpretation of the traditional brasserie, while maintaining many of the Les Halles’ original details. The restaurant occupies a total of 7500 square feet, divided equally between the cellar and street levels. The design team, under close supervision of Francis Staub himself. Staub insisted on expanding the dining room by revising the layout and location of the restrooms as well as the kitchen. The design team expanded the rear of the dining room by 500 square feet to provide additional seating that allows the restaurant to accommodate up to 173 guests. Additionally, this new section also houses a bread and bakery display station.
The updated layout of the 720-square foot kitchen was revised to accommodate requirements for new equipment and more streamlined production. Layout changes to the dining room are apparent starting at the front facade, where a new aluminum frame enables the walls on both sides of the central entry to open onto the street. Previously, only one side of the wall could be opened - however, the original landmarked entry doors remain. Immediately adjacent to the entry is the new host station and a 20-foot long zinc-top bar. Both are finished with dark wood coordinated with the original millwork. Dining room seating includes six booths and two long banquettes, all upholstered in red covers. The original diamond patterned terrazzo floor, as well as the plaster and paint finishes on the walls and ceilings, have been retained and were extended into the dining room addition.
Homage to Anthony Bourdain
From July 9th-11th 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Les Halles reopened its doors for three days to celebrate the life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain. Renamed La BRASSERIE and owned by Francis Staub since 2018.