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La Bergerie Unable To Reopen In Old Town Alexandria

Posted on Jun 22,2018
Filed Under Restaurants , Local Tastes,
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Image of old La Bergerie location at Crilley Warehouse, via Google Maps screenshot

By Emily Leayman

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - The planned reopening of La Bergerie is no more, its owners announced Monday. Laurent and Margaret Ticer Janowsky, who also own Del Ray Cafe, said legal costs from a lawsuit brought up by a group of residents has left them unable to pursue opening the new location.

The Janowskys had been planning to move the French restaurant to 329 N. Washington Street, a Federal-style historic building, since 2014. In the summer of 2014, they signed a contract to move the restaurant and planned to run a five-room inn upstairs. That fall, the Planning Commision and City Council unanimously approved their plans to open the restaurant and an inn.

One month later, 23 residents sued the city for approving the project. As the case went on, La Bergerie's lease at the historic Crilley Warehouse (218 North Lee Street) expired. That location closed in late 2016 after 40 years in business.

The city won the lawsuit in Alexandria Circuit Court in 2016, and residents lost appeals in Virginia Supreme Court. However, The Janowskys said in a statement they lost investors and $400,000 in personal investments over the span of the legal battle.

"We find it extremely unsettling that a few residents can destroy a reputable 40-year-old local business just by filing a lawsuit, which we believe they had no expectation of winning," said Margaret. "We believe it was their intent all along to do just what has happened, make us spend so much money in the lawsuit and drag it out over so many years, that we, in effect, have been bankrupted by it. It's a very sad day for local, small businesses in Old Town, Alexandria."

Laurent thanks to customers that have supportive during the court battle. "We were also looking forward to offering the only hotel rooms in an historic, Federal-period property in Alexandria," he said.

Fans of La Bergerie can still get a taste of the French restaurant's offerings at the Janowskys' other restaurant. Del Ray Cafe has recently added La Bergerie's dessert soufflés to its menu.

Meanwhile an Indian restaurant called Tandoori Nights was approved in March to open at La Bergerie's old Crilley Warehouse location. An opening date has not been announced.

Source Patch



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