While L'Orangerie chef alums spread across this town like a fast-growing fungus, the original's countdown to closing has begun. The LA Times reports today that L'Orangerie has sold the whole kit and kaboodle, including the wine cellar, to Nobu for yet another outpost of his growing empire. The collateral damage from that transaction also includes Matsuhisa on LA Cienega, which will also shut down as the larger Nobu opens. The LA Times interprets the change as a reflection of LA's preference for casual but expensive dining, rather than formal and I-might-need-a-second-mortgage-to-pay-for-dinner dining.
So while Nobu plans like 116 more outposts, or something like that, (coming soon: Nobu Boise!), L'Orangerie owner Gerard Ferry plans to...do nothing.
Ferry, on the other hand, says he never wanted to build an empire. And though he achieved his dream of creating a French restaurant in the spirit of the storied dining rooms in his home country, he has described the last few years at L'Orangerie as being difficult for him. He's struggled with lawsuits, disgruntled employees and dwindling business. Just doing nothing, Ferry says, has a great deal of appeal. "Why sell? Why not?" Ferry says. "Everyone tells me I'm no fun, especially the staff. You have to start living for something else than to run a restaurant."
If disgruntled staff was a reason for closing shop, LA would have 3 restaurants.