The French Laundry
|The French Laundry|
Exterior of The French Laundry
|Current owner(s)||Thomas Keller|
|Head chef||Thomas Keller|
|Food type||French cuisine with American influences|
|Dress code||Jacket required|
|Street address||6640 Washington St|
|Location||6640 Washington St., Yountville, California|
|Area||0.4 acres (0.2 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||78000728|
|Added to NRHP||April 19, 1978|
The French Laundry is a French restaurant located in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. The chef and owner of the French Laundry is Thomas Keller. The restaurant building dates from 1900, and is in the National Register of Historic Places.
The French Laundry is frequently honored by inclusion in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World (having been named "Best Restaurant in the World" in 2003 and 2004). Since 2006, it has been awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide to San Francisco. It received a favorable review in The New York Times and was called "the best restaurant in the world, period" by Anthony Bourdain.
History of the building
The building was built as a saloon in the 1900s by a Scottish stonesman for Pierre Guillaume. When a law was passed in 1906 prohibiting sale of alcohol within a mile of a veteran's home, Guillaume sold the building.
In the 1920s, the building was owned by John Lande who used it as a French steam laundry, which is the origin of the restaurant's name.
In 1978, the mayor of Yountville renovated the building into a restaurant. Don and Sally Schmitt owned the French Laundry for much of the 1980s, and the early 1990s. In 1994, Keller bought the restaurant.
In 2004 the restaurant installed a geothermal heating and air conditioning system.
There are two nine course prix fixe menus daily as well as several tasting menus. During the holiday season, the restaurant may offer special dishes. The most-current menu (As of Feb. 9, 2014) has priced their meals at $295 USD per person, including gratuity for the base meal, not including additional supplements such as Russian caviar and truffles.
Every day, the French Laundry serves two different nine-course tasting menus, none of which uses the same ingredient more than once.
Notable alumni of the French Laundry's kitchen staff include Grant Achatz of Alinea, Eric Ziebold of CityZen, Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Ristorante, René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, Clay Miller of Trummer's on Main, Ron Siegel of The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, and Duff Goldman. Current Chef de Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth won the Bocuse d'Or USA semi-finals in 2008, and represented the U.S. in the international finals in January 2009, placing sixth.
The restaurant is open for dinner every evening, and lunch is also served Friday through Sunday. They also typically closed for 1–2 weeks each winter and summer.
In February 2004, Thomas Keller opened the East Coast version of his Yountville restaurant, which he named Per Se. The kitchens of both restaurants are connected via a real-time video feed on a television screen. Per Se recently earned a C-rating on its New York City Health Inspection for accumulating 42 individual violations.
Awards and accolades
- 2012, Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
- 2006– Michelin Guide, Three Stars
- 2005–2008, "Best Restaurant in the Americas," Restaurant magazine Top 50
- 2004–2006, 2008 Top 40 Restaurants in the US Andre Gayot Guide
- 2003–2004 "Best Restaurant in the World," Restaurant magazine Top 50
- 2003, "Outstanding Service Award," James Beard Foundation
- 2002, Awarded the honor of World Master of Culinary Arts 2001, a 1st annual award given by Wedgwood
- 2001, Outstanding Wine Service Award, James Beard Foundation
- 2000, "Favorite Restaurant in the U.S.," Food & Wine Restaurant Experts' Poll
- 2000, Inducted into "Who's Who in Food & Beverage," James Beard Foundation
- 1999–2009 Five-Star Award, Mobil Travel Guide
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "The French Laundry – Reviews and Ratings of Restaurants in Napa Valley – New York Times Travel". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2008.[dead link]
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations episode "Las Vegas," 2005
- Friedman, Gabe (February 8, 2004). "Famed eatery seeks alternative energy source". Napa Valley Register (Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc.). Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Menus & Stories". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- Wells, Pete, The New York Times (September 28, 2008). French Laundry Sous Chef Will Represent U.S. in Bocuse d’Or
- Cowin, Diana, Food & Wine (February 2009). Competing at the Bocuse d’Or: Team USA’s Unbeatable Recipes
- Sciolino, Elaine, The New York Times: Diner's Journal (January 28, 2009). The American Chef Comes in Sixth
- Zimmer, Erin (May 29, 2009). "Per Se's Kitchen, Still Well-Stocked and Watching the French Laundry on Flat-Screen TV | Serious Eats : New York". Newyork.seriouseats.com. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- "San Francisco 2013 Michelin Guide; Michelin Travel & Lifestyle". Michelinguide.com. Retrieved April 10, 2013.