When we were first talking about the look of this restaurant with our designer Jack, a concept came to us. I don’t know who first used the words together, but the phrase “70’s French Truck Stop” captured our imaginations and has come to, at least vaguely, guide our aesthetic decisions. Incidentally, the other phrase that came up, and which kind of combined with truckstop in the final vision, was “70’s Bachelor Pad.” We sent pictures around to each other, and these were two of the best:
Back to the truckstops, though. When we first started talking about it, it was just a vague aesthetic direction. Then I did a bunch of research into the “Routiers,” which is both the word for trucker and truckstop. It turns out they are not far off from the general feel of our place. The food is hearty, delicious, and pretty affordable. One of the funnier facts I learned was that a while back the truckers in france went on strike because the Routiers were going to start limiting the wine they got with their prix fixe lunch to one glass, instead of the half bottle they were accustomed to. What a wonderful country.
So now we’ve found this little bit of Anthony Bourdain’s Burgundy show where he eats in a Routier with Ludo Lefebvre. (Sorry I couldn’t find a clip without an ad to link to.)
The look of the place isn’t all that spectacular, but the feel is great. A little hommes-heavy, but convivial and down to earth. It also shows a bit of the kind of french cooking I’ve been inspired by. Not the light bistro fare, nor haute cuisine fanciness, but rib-sticking, gut busting food from the countryside. The dish they eat is perfect: a crepe with mushrooms, ham, and béchamel. Anyone who thinks that’s fancy should understand that it is basically a pancake with ham and milk-gravy. Awesome.
Thanks, Tony, for helping to confirm our choices.