Thursday, October 29

First evening for restaurateurs at curfew time

The curfew was the occasion for a themed evening – Romarik Le Dourneuf

  • The curfew announced, October 14, by Emmanuel Macron began this Saturday in Ile-de-France and in 8 metropolises.
  • Restaurant owners, already strongly affected by containment and by the health protocols put in place, fear that this measure will be a coup de grace for them. Theme evenings, take-away, anticipation of services. They are trying everything to save their business.
  • The Rosé restaurant, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris organized, this Saturday evening, an evening “Dinner with the hens”, during which it was possible to peck, have fun and even sleep on the spot so as not to have to hurry. .

“In Paris, we don’t eat at chicken time! “Since the announcement of the curfew by Emmanuel Macron, this Wednesday, October 14, restaurateurs and their representative Franck Delvau, president of the Union of trades and industrialists of the hotel industry (UMIH Ile-de-France) rebel against the closure of their establishments at a time when services are running at full speed. Faced with this decision, restaurateurs are forced to adapt to continue to run their business. So much so that some have decided to play it. Thus, the Rosé restaurant, at the Novotel at Porte de Versailles, offered this Saturday, the first curfew evening of “dinner with the chickens”.

“If it is necessary to close earlier, we open earlier”

Straw bales on the sidewalk of Avenue de la Porte de la Plaine in the 15th arrondissement of Paris indicate to customers that they have arrived. In front of the restaurant, a gigantic neon hen’s head and a few gallinaceans in an enclosure announce the color, “Dinner with the hens” will not be just an expression. In front of the door, children scrutinize, inside, masked waiters who are busy tweaking the last details. It is only 6 p.m. but the staff of the Rosé restaurant is already ready to welcome its customers. “Like all restaurateurs, we had to adapt our offer. If we have to close earlier, we open earlier, ”explains the director of the Novotel, Brice Canonne.

The theme “Dinner with the chickens” is well marked, the first customers are greeted by waiters who wear cardboard chicken heads, the world of the farm is symbolized by a few touches of decorations. Even the DJ goes there with his sound effects over the background music. Brice Canonne’s avowed objective of taking the current situation in a positive way is working. We almost forget that the afternoon is not over yet. Of course, the health crisis is never very far away and the strict protocols remind us: Hydroalcoholic gel on all tables, traffic marking on the floors, distance between tables. Even at the table and unmasked, you have to scan a QR code to register on an “attendance book”. The same goes for the menu, available directly on a smartphone to avoid having to pass the boxes from hand to hand. On the other hand, the habit of sitting down to dinner so early is not yet fully adopted. At 6.30 p.m., only 4 customers are ready to taste.

Those who are not yet hungry can peck

To convince Parisians to sit down to dinner earlier, Brice Canonne is playing the aperitif card: “Here, we take it seriously. This results in the omnipresence of “Papé”. Equipped with his trolley, he walks between the tables with all the necessary: ​​Wines from Provence, artisanal pastis and olives from Nyons. “Our Provencal orientation goes well with the aperitif atmosphere,” says Brice Canonne, “and our menu is suitable for those who are not used to eating so early. »Thus, for those whose appetite is not overwhelming at 6 p.m., it is possible in its menu to replace a dish with small tasting plates like Spanish tapas. “We transform a meal into a dinner aperitif. Each guest can order one or two small plates, and everyone nibbles, ”adds the hotel manager.

At 7 p.m., if the sun begins to set, the hens continue to be active. The restaurant is two-thirds full and some already have their fill. At the back of the room, a man eats with his two children: “It’s not bad this schedule for us. It makes it possible to come and eat at the restaurant with the children and not to put them to bed too late. And all three do not shy away from their pleasure, from the start, the theme is respected: Chicken thigh coated with corn-flakes, quail egg on a bed of beetroot and caramelized corn. Children also feast on the hen heads and feathered sweaters worn by the waiters. Customers seem to forget the 9pm chopper.

Customers “not stressed but in a hurry”

Well almost, Christine seated with her friends confesses: “We are not stressed. But it’s true that we feel a little rushed by the curfew. “In front of her, Benoît puts it into perspective:” We think about it. But the theme of the evening helps put that aside. “On the chair next door, Lucie congratulates herself on having come to discover the restaurant:” It makes for entertainment, and we need it right now. It clears the mind and it might be easier than going to the movies or the theater in terms of organization. »And the organization, it will take the followers of restaurant evenings to go out. The example of these clients speaks volumes: all parents, they must arrange to have their children looked after. This will make going out during the week difficult.

Offer a hotel night in the menu

At 8 p.m., the entertainment continues, with a few hens walking around a pétanque set in the middle of the restaurant. The Provençal spirit remains very present, and customers benefit from it. If some customers elsewhere do not seem in a hurry, it is because they will not return home. Indeed, with its hotel restaurant complex, Brice Canonne offers those who wish to extend the night in the establishment. The principle is simple: A menu at 59 euros which includes the meal in the restaurant and a hotel night included. For Brice Canonne, the absence of tourists in Paris was an opportunity to offer these rooms to restaurant customers: “We have free rooms. Might as well offer them to Parisians. For the price of a taxi, they can enjoy the evening without looking at the time. And finish the meal in their room with our room service. “

At 8:40 p.m., those who do not stay asleep begin to leave the tables. Outside, the heavy traffic shows the eagerness to get home, and most restaurants are already closed. Night confinement begins and Paris will have to learn to fall asleep at hen time.

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