ST. PETERSBURG — Chateau France, the deluxe French restaurant ensconced in a historic building, is closing.
Owner Antoine Louro made the announcement in a recent blog, saying Aug. 15 will be its last day.
An opportunity to open a similar restaurant in the Bahamas prompted him "to re-evaluate'' his circumstances, Louro said. He will establish his Caribbean operation on Eleuthera overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Perhaps playing into his decision to close is the fact that the historic pink Bay Gables House at 136 Fourth Ave. NE, where his restaurant is located, is for sale, along with the neighboring Henry-Bryan House, another historic property.
Just a few years ago, developers had talked about building a luxury hotel or condos on land that included the two historic homes. The plan called for moving the Henry-Bryan to the Old Northeast, but developer Dan Harvey said then that the Bay Gables was too rundown to save. The asking price for the two city landmarks is $1.75 million.
The 21/2-story Bay Gables House, built in 1910, is a Vernacular-style residence with Queen Anne and Colonial Revival elements. It was originally owned by John T. Smith, a pioneer merchant who operated a meat market. It was later converted to a boardinghouse for tourists.
Louro has operated his restaurant for 12 years, high prices no deterrent to devotees of Chateau France's offerings of wines, meats, seafood, sauces and desserts.
On its last night in St. Petersburg, the restaurant will bid farewell with its traditional menu and offer 50 percent off a select list of California and French wines. It's a way of expressing his gratitude, Louro said.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.