RIVER NORTH — Bastille Day, to be celebrated tonight at Cyrano's Farm Kitchen, 546 N. Wells St., will be festive as usual, with escargot, wine and a crooner of French jazz songs.
It'll be bittersweet, too. Chef and owner Didier Durand is selling the restaurant at the end of August after 19 years. The Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel first reported the news.
The last day of service will be Aug. 29, Durand said Tuesday.
The Frenchman is not bidding adieu to the industry, though. He said he wants to focus on his Riverwalk offshoot, Cyrano's Cafe and Wine Bar, now in its 11th year. Business has seen "tremendous improvement" since the city's expansion of the Riverwalk, said Durand, who will move his 12 employees there.
Durand opened Cyrano's in 1996. He revamped the restaurant over the years, changing the name and decor to reflect a more casual, rustic approach.
He said he's getting out of his lease two years early to capitalize on the River North building boom.
"I didn't sell because business was bad. I sell because business is actually good and I saw an opportunity to make money from it," he said.
Durand, 54, has a few other items on his bucket list: "I want to do my cookbook, "Good Food Makes People Happy," and maybe a cooking show. I miss Julia Child. When she was dropping the chicken on the floor and saying, 'It's okay,' I think I can do that."
For the last eight years, Durand has made and sold croissants, bread, cheese, pates, quiches and frozen entrees at the Michigan City, Ind., farmers market. It's not far from the farm he and his wife and sommelier Jamie Pellar own in LaPorte. He'll continue to do that.
At some point down the road, he said he might want to open a classic French bistro.
"I don't want to die at the stove," he said.
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