L'Auberge Chez Francois: Chef Francois Haeringer Dies at Age 91
Chef François Haeringer Dies at Age 91
Posted by Tim Carman on Jun. 4, 2010 at 10:54 am
François Haeringer, the fearsomely proud Alsatian who gave the area a taste of his native cuisine for decades at L’Auberge Chez Francois, died yesterday afternoon at Reston General hospital right before surgery to repair a broken hip. He was 91 years old and still working daily in his restaurant.
Many years ago my husband and I went to his restaurant for the first time, to celebrate an anniversary. We pulled into the parking lot only to see a bunch of people leaving, and they didn't look happy. Monsieur Haeringer met us at the door with apologies; two of the three electricity grids the restaurant was on were down. They had a very limited menu, no running water in the bathrooms (so they were closed), and no air conditioning. It was August, but it was early enough in the day and the walls are nice and thick. Msr. Haeringer was so apologetic, as if he were personally responsible for the power cuts. The meal would be on the house, which was a gesture he absolutely didn't need to make.
We figured there was no better way to gauge the quality of a restaurant than during a crisis, so we decided to stay. We had a wonderful, albeit unusual, meal of mostly chilled items, a great bottle of wine, and amazing, professional, understated service. Never seen anything like it before or since. After that experience, we have made sure to go back often and have yet to be disappointed.
Classy man, classy restaurant.