Five French restaurateurs team up to take over a charming little bistro on the westside of Houston.
The former owners of Le Mistral and current owners Cafe Rabelais – who have been close friends for over 20 years – teamed up to save another local Houston favorite, a little bistro on Memorial Drive. The five friends have been busy working on other projects but decided to come together and take this on as a way to give back to the community of Memorial where they each hold a sentimental history.
Brothers Sylvain and David Denis ran Le Mistral on Eldridge for 20 years. Though shifts in Oil and Gas industry affecting traffic in the energy corridor led them to close down Le Mistral and focus their attention on a different part of town, they loved the idea of keeping some roots in the community where it all started for them. Upon moving to Houston from his hometown in the South of France, Bistro 555, then Bistro Provence, was the first place David sat down to have a meal. The tiny bistro will always hold a special place in his heart, so when the opportunity for him and his brother, along with close friends Christophe Paul, Laurence Paul, and Luc Baudoin to partner in the new ownership, it was an easy yes.
Christophe and Laurence Paul have their own, more personal relationship with the bistro. Laurence is the daughter of Georges and Monique Guy, the former owners. Laurence is a teacher by day, but the couple has started and turned over several restaurants in the Houston area over the twenty-plus years since they arrived in the states from France. Cafe Rabelais, run by Chris in Rice Village, remains a Houston favorite since its opening in 2000 and has thankfully survived by its loyal customers through the COVID-19 crisis.