Restaurants in The InTowner
The InTowner
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A Fond Farewell to Our Friend La Fourchette

Once compared to “a Parisian café of old,” La Fourchette is run by its original owners, Jacqueline and Pierre Chauvet; he’s the chef, she runs the front. This French couple maintains their kitchen vigilance, even in the face of an onslaught of tonier, costlier eateries around town. Perhaps that’s why they remain while so many newcomers and wannabes with their trendy foods slink away in the night.

Despite what is set out above, this is not a restaurant review. Rather, we are quoting Alexandra Greeley, long-time InTowner restaurant reviewer, who wrote glowingly nine years ago about this then 29-year Adams Morgan treasure. And what she wrote has remained as it was then — a most welcome constant in an otherwise “milleniumizing” world bringing change to our neighborhoods, some a good thing, some maybe not so good; depends on who is being asked.

There are very few locally-owned “mom and pop” businesses in DC that have prospered as long and been neighborhood stalwarts as La Fourchette; when they close we are sad and usually bemoan those events as “the end of life as we know it.”

We do bemoan the closing for our own selfish reason that we will miss this truly authentic French bistro owned and operated by Jackie and Pierre Chauvet for it’s casual ambiance and unpretentious, but invariably satisfying cuisine true to its traditions. As long-time friend and “across the alley,” as he likes to say, neighbor Carlos Lumpuy wrote in a message received a few hours before we started writing this commentary, what was offered was always “savory, very well prepared, consistent, reasonably priced.”

The aspect of this departure that is good, however, is that the Chauvet’s were not forced out by some whopping rent increase or refusal to renew a lease in favor of a bank or fast food chain. No, the reason was simply that after all those years it was now time to retire and enjoy the grandkids and other pleasures well-deserved after serving not only loyal customers but also the very community they have been such an instrumental part of. We wish them well and many years of happy times!

Carlos Lumpuy also offered some insights and observations that go far in explaining why so many of us from the neighborhoods surrounding Adams Morgan and from far beyond will share our sentiments, and we decided that what he wrote ought to be shared with our readers also, so here goes:

“La Fourchette started a few years after the riots of 1968 when very few wanted to live or work at 18th and Columbia Road, or what today we call Adams Morgan.

“When with two boys, two French nationals having worked the Dutch Embassy and for Kate Graham, two pioneers, two risk takers of the first order ventured into a rough part of Washington with very few dine-out choices, a capital city era of Spartan austerity and few comforts. Since then, year after year, they have seen it all incrementally, endured all manner of adversity witnessing what has come and gone all around them, and what is today . . . Adams Morgan.

“. . . [I]t was La Fourchette that pioneered here local, being prominently instrumental over nearly half a century in incrementally introducing to us Washingtonians and visitors . . . fine Provençal French cooking consistently . . . and menu-priced for all to experience and well enjoy.

“Distinguished and illustrious, exceptional and exemplary, so stellar and industrious, this extraordinary couple possess the quiet self-reliant work ethic. . . ”

There you have it — wonderful people quietly giving back to their adopted country and city neighborhood with a welcoming place where all could and did feel relaxed and “at home.” Our gratitude to them for all those years that helped contributed to enhancing our quality of life will not be forgotten. make our lives better is so very much appreciated. So, many thanks for everything!