Located in the Richmond district in San Francisco, Chapeau! French Bistro has been family owned and operated since November 1996. Chapeau is the perfect place for a date night or anyone who just wants to experience something out of the ordinary.
Customers who visit one of the only French Restaurants left in San Francisco can expect to be greeted with a warm welcome from owners and French Natives Phillipe and Ellen Gardelle and then treated to a classic three-course French meal.
Customers come not only for the authentic French food that has a bit of a Californian touch, but also the warm and inviting atmosphere that the Gardelles provide for each customer dining at their restaurant.
Phillipe Gardelle is not only the owner of Chapeau!, but also the chef. Some of the classic French dishes Gardelle serves include escargot, duck breast, and creme brulee. Gardelle himself recommends the classic french onion soup and filet mignon for new customers.
While Chapeau! has been facing hard times during the COVID-19 pandemic like any other small business, Phillip believes that the 23 years of success will help him stay open despite only doing about 25 percent of business that he and Ellen regularly do.
“We are used to when we have the downside of the business, but now this is the first time we have had to be out of the business,” said Phillip. “Imagine that this happened in 1999, three years after I opened, I would have had to close, for sure.”
While Phillipe and Ellen have had to close their dining area, they have tried to sell a limited to-go menu so the people of San Francisco can still get a taste of Chapeau! while in quarantine. Phillip emphasizes, however, that his food is made to be eaten fresh, which is quite difficult when only serving food to-go.
“If we were doing the whole menu, what is my credibility to say it’s fresh? I cannot, because the point is to move [it]. This is why we don’t have any fish on the menu right now except salmon,” said Phillipe.
“At the beginning we didn’t want to do a to-go model because the food is too complicated, but we found a way and we did it because we needed to. Otherwise, we would have gone under and I don’t want to do that after 23 years of doing this.”
Until Chapeau’s dining area is reopened, they will continue to do curbside pick-up with a limited menu. Customers have the option to purchase their to-go à la carte or as a three-course meal and, if desired, can choose from a selection of wine to pair with their food.
Customers can help support Chapeau! by purchasing gift cards online and visiting whenever is convenient for them.
Until operations return to normal, Phillipe extends his gratitude to Chapeau’s loyal patrons. “I want to thank all of our customers for their support. We have beautiful customers. I love my people and I love my customers. We are still here because of them.”