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Tuesday December 6th

La Residence achieves full ‘La Resurrection’ tonight after months of construction

La Residence reopens Wednesday after being damaged in a fire.
Buy Photos La Residence reopens Wednesday after being damaged in a fire.

At 5:30 p.m. today, La Residence will be open for dinner after months of construction due to a fire that occurred in June 2016.

John Gualtieri, operations manager of La Residence, said the restaurant’s bar opened Friday, but a grand opening is planned for later in February.

He said they are excited to be re-opening and proud they were able to stay true to the character of the restaurant through the rebuilding process.

“This is a 100-year-old house, built in 1920. It was fortuitous that we were able to rebuild it and extend the life of the house,” Gualtieri said.

The restaurant was able to keep their original layout while updating the kitchen and plumbing, installing a fire suppression system and unearthing the original 100-year-old floors, he said.

“The rebuilding took so much longer than we expected,” Gualtieri said. “We were not able to keep a lot of our full time employees, but most of our University staff stayed.”

Although the restaurant lost kitchen employees, they were able to hire Oscar Gnapi, the restaurant’s first French executive chef. Gnapi grew up in Paris and has classical French culinary training.

“In coming to La Residence as the new executive chef. I will be bringing 20 years of experience in the culinary industry,” Gnapi said. “I have such a love and appreciation for French food.”

Gualtieri said La Residence is moving from a traditional dining place to an everyday restaurant.

They are breaking down the formal appetizer, entree and dessert sequence by implementing small plates.

“We wanted to find a way to dazzle people with food while shaking the stigma of being a special occasion restaurant,” Gualtieri said. “We hope small plates will make us a more fun, any-night-of-the-week kind of place.”

Gualtieri said they will be able to be a more approachable restaurant to the community with the introduction of small plates.

He said since they opened their bar in 2000, it has really flourished, but they want people to know they also have a good menu.

“There is a demographic of people who don’t know we are a bar, and also a demographic that doesn’t know we are a full service restaurant,” Gualtieri said. “Our goal is to work on blending that gap.”

Calum McGuckin, a UNC senior, said he has visited the La Res bar since it has been back open and he’s glad they have reopened.

“The fire clearly helped business at (Country Fried Duck), but it’s nice to see La Res back where it once was — still a great place for a night out,” McGuckin said.

This is the 41st year since La Residence originally opened and Gualtieri said they are excited to be serving the community again after seven months.

He said he’s thankful for the dedicated customers who have stayed loyal during construction.

“Our customers have been so supportive and non-stop curious about when we are going to open, so we are really looking forward to opening the full menu,” Gualtieri said.

@thehannahwall

city@dailytarheel.com



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