Chez Nous turns 35
Beloved downtown Austin bistro celebrates milestone anniversary
In the late '70s, three friends in their twenties traveled from Paris to Austin with a dream of opening a true, simple, independent French restaurant in the heart of the city.
In February 1982, Sybil Reinhart-Regimbeau, Pascal Regimbeau, and Robert Paprota opened Chez Nous in a historic downtown building to share a slice of their native culture with the Austin community. Thirty-five years later, this cozy oasis amid the bustle of Sixth Street is just as much an intimate, unique, and casual French bistro as the first day it opened.
“Downtown Austin’s restaurant scene at the time was obviously quiet different,” says Sibyl. “There were much fewer restaurants, but some great local gems such as Jeffreys, Alana's, Speranza's, Paggi House, and true soulful places such as Virginia's and Las Manitas. The foodie and 'concept restaurants' phenomenon had not arrived, and chefs were not TV stars!”
The menu at Chez Nous has not changed much since its inception. Diners can still start their evening with a kir royale and house-made pâté, followed by bistro classics like trout meunière, duck confit, or salade lyonaise. This was one of the first restaurants to embrace an affordable three-course prix fixe menu, which still stands today at the unthinkable price of $32.50.
Most of the staff has been part of the Chez Nous family for at least 17 years, with chef Christopher Concannon arriving in June 1999 and managers Jacques Perier in September 1997 and Cameron Barber in June of 2000. “They’ve done a tremendous job in helping us keep the spirit and quality of Chez Nous alive,” says Sibyl. "It is more about them and our long-term front and back staff than about us.”
After the untimely passing of Paprota in 2000, the Regimbeaus have continued their vision, solidifying Chez Nous as the institution that it is today as dozens of shiny, new, and trendy restaurants come and go. To mark this milestone anniversary, they will celebrate this month, starting Thursday, February 9, with live music by Olivier Giraud & Continental Graffiti and bubbly toast. On February 14, join the Chez Nous family for their traditional Valentine’s Day special dinner.
“We are extremely proud of this amazing story and very grateful to the Austin community that has supported us through all these years,” says Sybil.