After painstakingly and barely surviving the 11-month-long indoor dining ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our tiny Hell’s Kitchen classic French restaurant was once again forced to close its doors on December 8th, 2021, right at the peak of our busy holiday season. The reason for this was because the Con Edison gas & electricity company of New York City shut down the building’s entire gas and demanded that the gas pipe network be completely replaced from basement to roof, including our kitchen’s plumbing system!
Since then (8 months and counting), my mother and I have been lost in a sea of bureaucratic red tape while dealing with New York City’s Department of Buildings, the Fire Department, Con Edison, and the plumbers. We’ve been filling out forms, sending requests for permits, and waiting weeks on end for necessary inspections to finally happen to make any forward moving progress toward re-opening our doors to our customers. And although our building’s owner has generously suspended our monthly rent while we cannot fully operate, our restaurant’s insurance has denied our claim of ‘loss of income’ because this was a building-wide issue…not a restaurant issue. Because, yeah…insurance companies.
During this exhaustive and extremely heartbreaking time, the funds that we received from the Federal Government by way of the PPP loans and the Restaurant Revitalization Grant, created to help us remain in business after the Covid crisis, has quickly depleted due to lack of revenue from customers and paying for ongoing expenses in order to hold on to our small business — a loss now totaling over $250,000.
Being a proud restauranteur family, my mother and I have held off for as long as we could before turning to a GoFundMe request…but now, alas, the time has come to humbly ask for your kind help to keep our “hyper-traditional” 62 year old restaurant safe from extinction in a city that has seen thousands of beloved neighborhood establishments disappear since 2020.
As we inch closer to hopefully getting our gas turned back on, we would like to detail that your generous donations that we receive here will contribute to the following costs in order to successfully re-open:
• Replacing our entire food inventory that had to be thrown away because of spoilage over the many months of being idle.
• Ongoing utility and corporate costs (taxes, permits, licenses, insurance, etc.) incurred during the shutdown.
• Expenses needed in order to re-open (cleaning, maintenance, supplies, etc.).
• And most importantly, enough funds to secure paying the wages of our incredibly loyal staff when they can return to work after so many months of unemployment.
Like Napoléon himself, we might be small, but our determination and will to combat this is strong; but we need your help to win this two-and-a-half-year-long battle to save our family business. My mother, Elyane, and I thank you in advance for any donations you can spare for our crowdfunding, no matter how large or small.
Since 1960, Chez Napoléon restaurant has been a favorite culinary destination in this neighborhood from when it was teeming with many classic French restaurants catering to voyagers disembarking from cross Atlantic ships docked at the Hudson River piers at the west end of 50th street. For many years to come, past the “Westies” and “Hell’s Kitchen” periods, Chez Napoléon remained steadfast as a small, yet tenacious restaurant, much like its namesake, that would stay true to its foundation of serving authentic and satisfying French cuisine, like from back home, on the outskirts of the Theatre District.
It was in 1982 that the Bruno family – actually the third, yet longest, family to own Chez Napoléon – came to stylize, craft, and perfect a menu that showcases and represents most regional specialties throughout France’s broad culinary delights. This is largely thanks to Chef ‘Grandmere’ Marguerite Bruno’s unique know-how of bringing home styled Sunday night dinner, French comfort food from the home kitchen and into a small restaurant setting.
Such classic favorites present on the menu include: garlicky escargots, savory onion soup with melted cheese, decadent duck foie gras, our signature steak au poivre, tasty frog legs, the ever popular beef bourguignon stew, the eventful Bouillabaisse fish stew, our specialty dessert soufflés, and so much more! We also boast very unique, hard-to-find dishes such as: veal sweetbreads, veal kidneys, wild boar stew (when in season), and even calf’s brain served with black butter – reserved for the more adventurous and daring of foodies!
At Chez Napoléon, we pride ourselves in offering a hyper-traditional French dining experience that will transport you to the small French restaurants by the banks of the Seine in Paris. Diners who return to this landmark restaurant time after time seek not just to be fed in a hurry in time for a Broadway show, but rather to take the time to relax and enjoy a well crafted meal that will please any taste and sophisticated palette.
This tiny humble restaurant is now run by Elyane Bruno and her son, William Welles(Yes...he looks scary. He is Goth. He doesn't bite...as long as you behave...), who are very proud to continue this tradition of French culinary Savoir-Faire...especially within these very difficult and trying times for the restaurant industry.
The entire staff here are very grateful to our very loyal and local clientele in helping support us to be one of the oldest classic French restaurants in New York City throughout all of these many, many wonderful years. We couldn't have done it without you!!!
BIENVENUE & BON APPÉTIT!!!
We now make our own homemade French baguette bread for our customers!!!
See how Chez Napoléon owner, William Welles, makes a fresh batch in the video below...
Due to our current predicament with our gas line being shut off by Con Edison for over six months now, since the beginning of December, 2021 to be exact, and the impending rise in prices for basic food supplies, we are temporarily removing our full menu from our website in order to redesign and restructure it from scratch. Please be aware that when, and if, we do indeed reopen Chez Napoléon, it will almost be like opening a whole new restaurant from scratch for us. However, for our most loyal clientele, you need not to worry. My mother, Elyane, and I are using this idle time to work hard with our purveyors to calculate a simpler menu that will remain hyper-traditional in its "hard to find" and classic selections while not relying on any price gouging and/or smaller sizes like some of the other restaurants in NYC are reported to be doing.
Our tiny restaurant's biggest asset is our wonderful and supportive clientele, and we wish to thank you for sticking with us during this very hard time, as well as the even more difficult time once when we (hopefully) re-open. Plus I, William, will be introducing a new entée to the menu that is a little know specialty from my region of the French Riviera that can also be considered a unique vegetarian dish!
Thank you all once again, and we hope to see you all sooner than later!!!
- All gift certificates will be sent for FREE via USPS mail. The charge on your credit card statement will be listed under Elymar Restaurant Corp. (Chez Napoléon's company name). -
***Please note: If ever Chez Napoléon restaurant is forced to permanently close its doors, we shall issue a full refund to those who have purchased gift certificates after 04/01/2020.***