|The French Laundry|
|Head chef||Thomas Keller|
|Food type||French with Californian cuisine influences|
|Dress code||Jacket required|
|Rating|| (Michelin Guide)|
*AAA Five Star Award (2005-2022)
|Street address||6640 Washington St|
|Location||6640 Washington St., Yountville, California|
|Area||0.4 acres (0.16 ha; 17,000 sq ft; 1,600 m2)|
|Architect||Clark, Alexander (Gus)|
|NRHP reference No.||78000728|
|Added to NRHP||April 19, 1978|
The French Laundry is a three-Michelin star French and Californian cuisine restaurant located in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. Sally Schmitt opened The French Laundry in 1978 and designed her menus around local, seasonal ingredients; she was a visionary chef and pioneer of California cuisine. Since 1994 the chef and owner of The French Laundry is Thomas Keller. The restaurant building dates from 1900 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The building was built as a saloon in the 1900s by a Scottish stonesman for Pierre Guillaume. 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, Sally Schmitt and her husband Don purchased the building and renovated it into a restaurant. They kept the name, the French Laundry, because locals still referred to the building as such. The French Laundry was one of the first restaurants to offer what would become known as California cuisine. The Schmitts ran the restaurant nonstop for seventeen years, before selling it to Thomas Keller in 1994.
In 1999, Keller published The French Laundry Cookbook, which he considers his definitive book on cuisine. That year it won three International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) awards for Cookbook of the Year, Julia Child "First Cookbook" Award, and Design Award.
In July 2014, the Napa Valley restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary with a six-hour feast for friends, locals, and luminaries and temporarily closed for renovations before the end of the year.
On April 7, 2015, the restaurant reopened following demolition of a number of buildings on the site. During the remainder of the renovation project, the staff worked out of a temporary kitchen.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, The French Laundry closed and re-opened several times, and faced restrictions such as limited seating. In November 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom attended a private party at the restaurant, and was photographed not socially distancing, nor wearing a protective mask, despite guidelines issued by his administration ahead of an expected holiday COVID-19 surge. Newsom received widespread criticism as a result, and the incident attracted support for the recall effort against him, which nonetheless failed by a wide margin.
Every day, The French Laundry serves two different nine-course tasting menus, one the Chef's Tasting Menu and the other the Tasting of Vegetables, which is vegetarian. During the winter holiday season, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and other holidays, the restaurant may offer special dishes. Both menus are US$355 per person, including gratuity for the base meal, although not including additional supplements such as caviar and truffles.
Notable alumni of The French Laundry's kitchen staff have included Grant Achatz of Alinea, Eric Ziebold of Kinship and Métier, Corey Lee of Benu, Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Ristorante, René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, Ron Siegel of The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, and Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes. Previous 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.
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.
Thomas Keller opened a pop-up restaurant in the Silverado Resort & Spa during the renovation of The French Laundry. The restaurant, which serves American classics, is called Ad Lib. This is not the first pop-up restaurant that Keller has helmed, previously popping up at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and at Harrod's in London.
Awards and accolades
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" in 2005 by Anthony Bourdain.
- 2012, Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
- 2007, Wine Spectator, Grand Award
- 2006, Michelin Guide, Three Stars
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- Alexander, Pat (2009). Yountville. Arcadia Publishing. p. 29. ISBN 9780738569659. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Goldstein, Joyce; Brown, Dore (September 6, 2013). Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness. University of California Press. p. 4-6. ISBN 9780520956704.
- Proudfoot, Ben (September 13, 2022). "Before Thomas Keller, It Was Her French Laundry". New York Times. New York Times.
- "The French Laundry: Thomas Keller". Los Angeles Magazine. 45 (8): 136. August 2000. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Woolever, Laurie. "Chef Talk: Thomas Keller". Wine Spectator Online. M. Shanken Communications, Inc. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "French Laundry chef talks about celebrity life". MSN. May 22, 2007.[permanent dead link]
- Friedman, Gabe (February 8, 2004). "Famed eatery seeks alternative energy source". Napa Valley Register. Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Robinson, Joanna (July 8, 2014). "Truffled Grilled Cheese and In-N-Out Burgers: Celebrating the French Laundry's 20th Anniversary". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Carson, L. Pierce (April 7, 2014). "French Laundry will close temporarily for expansion". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "Man admits stealing $500,000 worth of wine from famed French Laundry restaurant". Los Angeles Times. December 21, 2016.
- Mejia, Paula (April 16, 2018). "How a Gang of Thirsty Thieves Stole Over $500,000 Worth of Wine". Atlas Obscura.
- "French Laundry reopens, reveals renovation plans". Napa Valley Register. April 7, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
- Edmonds, Lauren. "Michelin-starred restaurant where Gov. Newsom dined during COVID-19 surge got over $2.4 million in PPP loans". Insider. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- White, Jeremy B. "Newsom faces backlash after attending French Laundry dinner party". Politico PRO.
- Blood, Michael R. (September 15, 2021). "GOP's Elder concedes California recall, hints: 'Stay tuned'". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 15, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
- "Today's Menus". Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- "Chef's Tasting Menu – 26 October 2015" (PDF). The French Laundry. Retrieved October 27, 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Tasting of Vegetables – 26 October 2015" (PDF). The French Laundry. Retrieved October 27, 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Thomas Keller". www.finedininglovers.com. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- "The Easy Way to Make Thomas Keller's Signature Salmon Cornets". Food & Wine. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- Forbes, Paula (November 26, 2012). "Timothy Hollingsworth Is Out at French Laundry; Per Se's David Breeden Is In". Eater.com. Vox Media Inc. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- 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.
- Lucchessi, Paolo (January 12, 2015). "Thomas Keller to launch temporary restaurant at Silverado: Ad Lib". insidescoopsf.sfgate.com. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- Stolerman, William (November 2, 2010). "Mandarin Oriental HK Welcoming Chef Thomas Keller". Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- "The French Laundry at Harrods: Thomas Keller interview". telegraph.co.uk. September 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- "The French Laundry – Reviews and Ratings of Restaurants in Napa Valley – New York Times Travel". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- "Las Vegas". Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Season 1. Episode 7. October 17, 2005. 7 minutes in.
His Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, is in my opinion, the best restaurant in the world. Period.
- "The French Laundry". Wine Spectator. January 1, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- "Culinary Hall of Fame Induction".
- "San Francisco 2013 Michelin Guide; Michelin Travel & Lifestyle". Michelinguide.com. Retrieved April 10, 2013.