After a dozen years in Glen Park, Laurent wanted to thank his many patrons who’ve supported his business and become his friends. So tonight he hosted a Customer Appreciation event. Drinks flowed, canapes were snapped up, and oysters were slurped, courtesy of Laurent. The Dave Parker quartet entertained the crowd.
Although the sign in the window said festivities would begin at 6:30, by 6:15 there was a line out the door and the restaurant was soon packed with revelers who made merry with a holiday celebration for good measure.
Some key local merchants showed up, namely new owner Manhal Jweinat, with Kendra; and Nada and Rick Malouf of the Cheese Boutique.
Laurent said he’d stay open until the last guest left. That ended up being 11:30.
To the surprise of many, Laurent had let his beard grow in. It was the topic of lots of ribbing. In fact, though Laurent has always been friendly and outgoing, he became more so at the night wore on. He danced, he wrapped himself in a feather boa, and the piece de resistance, he unbuttoned his shirt and bared his chest. Ooh la la!
When the inevitable call for “Speech!” welled up from the crowd, Laurent started, “It’s been an amazing experience to be in Glen Park. I’m going to miss you so much. You’re very like family.” At that point he was drowned out by whoops, hollers and teases.
One unique accolade stands out, from Maureen Brady. “I live on the street where I grew up, on Randall Street. In 2008, I was waiting for a bus, and I missed the bus to come in here, seven times I missed the bus, Laurent has a list! I have no words. My heart, my heart. One day it was a rainy day, I was standing right here at the bus stop with my umbrella and Laurent said, “Come on, Marie, Marie, at least a glass of champagne.” Riin interjected, “‘No no no’ she said, “so we traveled the glass of champagne out to her at the bus stop! Ohhh, she’s like, I did not take the glass into the bus, I took it back into the bar.” Maureen continued, “I made him take a picture of me because my friends do not believe that I get served champagne on the street!”
The youngest guest by far, was one-month old Nora Chang Hay, daughter of Nancy Chang and Nick Hay. She was swaddled beneath her mother’s coat. “This is the first restaurant we ever ate in in the neighborhood and it convinced us to move here — he lived in Berkeley, I lived in Paris and I was a hobo in the Bay Area because I couldn’t settle on anywhere, but then I’m like, oh. Glen Park, that’s it!
Some more highlights from a memorable evening.
Photo Credit: Bonnee Waldstein