Chef Daniel Boulud will reopen his flagship New York restaurant on September 30th with a new name and a new look, all made possible with the help of some corporate sponsors.
Even before the coronavirus crisis, corporate sponsors were beginning to creep into the high end of the hospitality industry. Now they are backing Daniel Boulud, who is rebranding his restaurant as Boulud Sur Mer. After months of closure, the writing may be on the wall for other restaurateurs who need extra capital to weather the economic storm.
Boulud has designs on expanding his business beyond the traditional high-end dining room with nationwide 'makeaway' delivery in the works, and so the chef is turning to other practical measures to ensure the survival of his bricks-and-mortar restaurant.
Boulud Sur Mer will be a reinvention of the Upper East Side dining room, recalling the South of France with vibrant swoops of fabric and wallpaper that evoke the sailboats, trees, and bright colours of the Mediterranean. The space will also recognise the sponsors who made the renovation happen, including Lavazza Premium Coffees Corp., and DAOU Vineyards, who donated products and undisclosed sums of money to fund the transformation.
Boulud Sur Mer, a vision of the South of France
“We wanted to create an illusion of something different,” said Boulud. “No one went to the South of France this summer. I thought, ‘Let me take them there.’ We will make it like a party in Cannes, a party in St. Tropez.”
In these straightened times, merely keeping staff on the payroll presents a major challenge, and few restaurateurs can even contemplate a renovation. “You see the restaurant world. No one is making any money—it is about survival,” said the chef, adding that the brands approached him with offers to help out.
The menu of Boulud Sur Mer will feature southern French staples such as salt-baked whole fish with herbs of Provence, and a classic bouillabaisse. Prices will be about 20% lower than they were before the pandemic, with a prix fixe menu served indoors for around $125.
The restaurant will also feature outdoor seating where guests can dine from the à la carte menu with new colourful, customised cabanas to be installed next week in time for the cooler autumn weather.