It's always a sad day for Francophiles and nostalgists when yet another beloved old-school French restaurant shutters its doors, but in the case of Provence — which served its last bowl of bouillabaisse on Saturday — it could be a lot worse.
Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, the owners of Cookshop and Five Points, have taken over the space with plans to completely gut the kitchen, redo the dining room, put in a raw bar, and reopen by January as — guess what? — a nice French restaurant called Provence.
"It's going to be more of a restoration than a renovation," says Freeman. "I want it to feel like the old Provence."
If ever there was a team qualified to do that, it would be Freeman and Meyer, Provence regulars who used to live right down the block from the restaurant. "I've been going there since they opened twenty years ago," she says. "Before I met Marc, I'd go with my best friend when we'd had a bad day, and all the cute French waiters would flirt with us."
Their chef-partner and friend, Lynn McNeely, late of Barbuto, who serendipitously just finished a five-month cooking stint in Provence, will be in charge of the kitchen. Expect a Cookshop-like emphasis on local, sustainable ingredients, a daily changing menu, and yes, bouillabaisse.
— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld