La Belle Epoque

827 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
ph. 212-254-6436
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“People call it the best kept secret in New York, but I wish it wasn’t so secret!” says Linda Southerland, owner of La Belle Epoque, the exquisite club on Broadway at 12th Street. “So many new clients come to me and say that they don’t want to tell their friends about the place, otherwise it gets too crowded.” Linda laughs, with all the energy left from days of hard work in the club and especially in the kitchen, where she is the main chef. “Spring is our busiest period. We do a lot of private events and May is graduation time!”

Linda and her daughter Lauren come from New Orleans and they never really dreamt of becoming club owners. “I was a psychotherapist in Louisiana. I came here with my daughter just to take a break for a couple of years. I kind of wanted to do something else. Someone told me about this place and I thought ‘that may be fun’...and that was 14 years ago...” At that time La Belle Epoque was already a place with a lot of history, open only for private parties. Built in 1860 by the P. Lorilard Company, at the turn of the century it was used as a china and womens store and then as a ladies boutique. Then it became a restaurant, only to turn into an artist’s studio in the mid-20th century. In 1981, the noted designer Howard Kaplan redesigned the space to replicate the environment and ambience of La Belle Epoque - “the gilded era”, as it’s called, “when Paris was the civilized world’s capital of elegant entertaining, artistic genius and stimulating conversation.” He put an 1880 pewter-top bar, lighted by a stained glass peacock, originating from Paris famous Saisons Bleu restaurant in the Les Halles district, a Neo-Renaissance mantel/fireplace and statues of the Four Seasons fronting private banquets with French Bentwood tables. The painted tile floor is dated circa 1907 and a few original iron subway markers come from four of Paris’ most famous Metro stops to adorn the walls. Kaplan even inserted a telephone booth with a hydraulic lift of the Napoleon III period. Needless to say all the bistro chairs and tables are authentic. ...
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