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Laurent Janowsky / La Bergerie

Posted on Aug 05,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Restaurants Alexandria Virginia

Laurent Janowsky / La Bergerie
Crilley Warehouse, Second Floor
218 North Lee Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-1007

About Laurent:
Laurent came to the US as a child with his mother to pursue the “American Dream”. His restaurant training started when he was 14 in military school. “I just fell into it.” He told us, “I was working at the mess hall – it allowed me to miss formation and other aspects of military school that were boring to a 14 year-old. My English wasn’t good at the time. Mess hall was relatively easy – the food didn’t talk back to me.” Laurent later added, “Most French at the time came to the US and pursued one of two things – hair styling or food. I picked food and I’ve been in the business ever since then. I was extremely fortunate to work for the late Chef Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate (one of Washington’s greatest chefs). Jean Louis was my mentor. He passed away too soon.”

About La Bergerie:
La Bergerie has a warm atmosphere, currently with a fall décor (pumpkins and fall flowers currently adorn the restaurant). Laurent adds, “La Bergerie has been around for 32 years. I bought it in 2000 when the owners were ready to retire.” La Bergerie is described as “French cuisine with Basque specialties”. Laurent has lately been adding fresh talent to the restaurant. 32 year-old French born and trained Executive Chef Vincent Damman (with Laurent in the photo) has brought new energy and vitality to the kitchen. There are new items on the menu, alongside the restaurant’s tableside favorites such as: filet of sole, rack of lamb, lobster flambee, and café Basque. La Bergerie also has an off-liquor license – find a wine you like on our Wine Spectator Award wine list or anywhere else and buy it from the restaurant directly for only a 20% charge above cost!

Business Philosophy:
“We are only as good as our guests, and our goal here is to please them. If there’s a special dish you would like, call ahead and we’ll make it for you. It’s very relaxing here at La Bergerie. No matter where you sit, you can have a conversation at your table without the banging of dishes, loud music, and other guests yelling to be heard. There’s no kitchen noise to spoil the atmosphere. People come here and can concentrate on the food and the people around them. We get a lot of solo diners. I think it speaks for the food and atmosphere – normally people stay at home rather than eat out solo.”

Why did you choose to do this?
1) I like to please people
2) I like good food
3) I like good wine
4) I like people
5) I have lots of energy
6) I like to kiss all the women!”

Why Alexandria?
“I worked here, and used to play racquetball with the chef. When the owners of La Bergerie were ready to retire, they contacted me to see if I was interested in taking over. I always thought I would eventually be here. When they called, I was ready to chase the dream, like they say in that commercial.”

Funny Story?
“Dr. J came in once with a mutual friend. I didn’t know basketball players that well, but I thought it was him. The friend brought me over for an introduction. When he introduced him, I jumped up and said “I knew it, I knew it was you!” The friend then introduced me to Dr. J, who then jumped up and said back, “I knew it! I knew it was you!”

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