A highly-acclaimed French restaurant in North Castle that was forced to close last year after it went bankrupt is back in business and its owner intends to have a fully-functioning establishment once pandemic restrictions end.
La Cremaillere Restaurant, which had operated for about 70 years on Bedford-Banksville Road in Banksville before closing last February, has reopened for a limited takeout menu, property owner Peter Orthwein told The Examiner last week.
Orthwein’s company bought the restaurant’s assets and is leasing them to owner Robert Meyzen’s reconstituted company La Cremaillere II, he said. Meyzen had owned the original La Cremaillere since the 1970s, buying it from his father who established the restaurant that was frequently visited by celebrities. It had been considered one of the premiere French restaurants in the northeastern United States.
“We’ll get indoor dining space eventually,” Orthwein said, “but right now we’re just takeout.”
La Cremaillere II, which also had impressive wine offerings during its first incarnation, has applied for a New York State liquor license.
The restaurant, located in a 1750s farmhouse, had run into money troubles when Meyzen’s wife, Barbara, was accused of running a multiyear scheme to defraud the restaurant’s lenders, mortgagee, bankruptcy creditors and customers and to obstruct the bankruptcy process, according to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
Last Sept. 23, she was sentenced to two years in prison, was given another two years of supervised release and forced to pay forfeiture and restitution of $320,289.35, the U.S. Attorney’s office stated.
The restaurant entered bankruptcy in April 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and operated through last Valentine’s Day before being shut down by the state, Orthwein said.
He said Robert Meyzen was unaware his wife was engaged in the illegal activity and looks forward to another opportunity.
“Unfortunately, this happened and it really has been devastating for him,” Orthwein said. “We were able to buy the assets out of bankruptcy and look forward to him getting back and running the restaurant the way it was.”
Last week, the restaurant established a new website, www.frenchcountryrestaurant.net, to feature a limited takeout menu of classic French food. The liquor license application indicated that there would be live music for private and special events as well as recorded music.
North Castle Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto said La Cremaillere reminded her of one of the Michelin restaurants you would find out in the countryside. She said the food, service and interior made for a remarkable dining experience.
“To have that in the little hamlet of Banksville, it’s almost paradise,” DiGiacinto said. “It’s always been such a gem.”
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/