The French Laundry

The French Laundry

Exterior of The French Laundry
Restaurant information
Established 1978 (1978)
Current owner(s) Thomas Keller
Head chef Thomas Keller
Food type French cuisine with American influences
Dress code Jacket required
Rating 3 Michelin stars (Michelin Guide)
Street address 6640 Washington St
City Yountville
State California
Postal code/ZIP 94599
Country United States
Coordinates 38°24′16″N 122°21′55″W / 38.404459°N 122.36521°W / 38.404459; -122.36521Coordinates: 38°24′16″N 122°21′55″W / 38.404459°N 122.36521°W / 38.404459; -122.36521
Seating capacity 60
Other information Phone: 1.707.944.2380

French Laundry
Location 6640 Washington St., Yountville, California
Coordinates 38°24′16″N 122°21′50″W / 38.40444°N 122.36389°W / 38.40444; -122.36389
Area 0.4 acres (0.2 ha)
Built 1900
NRHP Reference # 78000728[1]
Added to NRHP April 19, 1978

The French Laundry is a French restaurant located in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. The chef and owner of the French Laundry is Thomas Keller. The restaurant building dates from 1900, and is in the National Register of Historic Places.

The French Laundry is frequently honored by inclusion in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World (having been named "Best Restaurant in the World" in 2003 and 2004). Since 2006, it has been awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide to San Francisco. It received a favorable review in The New York Times[2] and was called "the best restaurant in the world, period" by Anthony Bourdain.[3] Since 2007, the restaurant has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award.[4]

In July 2014, the Napa Valley restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary with a "six-hour feast for friends, locals, and luminaries"[5] and temporarily closed for renovations before the end of the year.[6] The restaurant reopened on April 7, 2015 following demolition of a number of buildings on the site. During the remainder of the renovation project, the staff is working out of a temporary kitchen.[7]

Building history

The building was built as a saloon in the 1900s by a Scottish stonesman for Pierre Guillaume.[8] When a law was passed in 1906 prohibiting sale of alcohol within a mile of a veteran's home, Guillaume sold the building.

In the 1920s, the building was owned by John Lande who used it as a French steam laundry,[8] which is the origin of the restaurant's name.

In 1978, the mayor of Yountville renovated the building into a restaurant. Don and Sally Schmitt owned the French Laundry for much of the 1980s, and the early 1990s. In 1994, Keller bought the restaurant.[9][10]

In 2004, the restaurant installed a geothermal heating and air conditioning system.[11]


This vegetable tasting menu was one of three menus available for Sunday December 4, 2005

Every day, the French Laundry serves two different nine-course tasting menus, none of which uses the same ingredient more than once.[12] During the holiday season, the restaurant may offer special dishes. The menu as of October 26, 2015 is $310 USD per person, not including gratuity for the base meal, not including additional supplements such as Russian caviar and truffles.[13][14]

The food is mainly French with contemporary American influences, giving rise to such unique specialties as Cuisse de grenouilles sur un bâton (frog's legs on a stick).


Notable alumni of the French Laundry's kitchen staff include Grant Achatz of Alinea, Eric Ziebold of CityZen, Corey Lee of Benu, Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Ristorante, René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, Clay Miller of Trummer's on Main, Ron Siegel of The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, and Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes. Previous Chef de Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth[15] won the Bocuse d'Or USA semi-finals in 2008,[16][17] and represented the U.S. in the international finals in January 2009, placing sixth.[18]

The restaurant is open for dinner every evening, and lunch is normally also served Friday through Sunday, although Friday lunch will not be offered during the current renovation project. They also typically close for 1–2 weeks each winter and summer.

Other locations

In February 2004, Thomas Keller opened the East Coast version of his Yountville restaurant, which he named Per Se. The kitchens of both restaurants are connected via a real-time video feed on a television screen.[19]

Thomas Keller opened a pop-up restaurant in the Silverado Resort & Spa during the renovation of The French Laundry. The restaurant, which will serve American classics, is to be called Ad Lib.[20] This is not the first pop-up restaurant that Keller has helmed, previously popping up at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong [21] and at Harrod's in London.[22]

Awards and accolades


  1. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. "The French Laundry – Reviews and Ratings of Restaurants in Napa Valley – New York Times Travel". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
  3. "Las Vegas". Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Season 1. Episode 7. October 17, 2005. 7 minutes in. His Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, is in my opinion, the best restaurant in the world. Period.
  4. 1 2 "The French Laundry". Wine Spectator. 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  5. Robinson, Joanna. "Truffled Grilled Cheese and In-N-Out Burgers: Celebrating the French Laundry's 20th Anniversary". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  6. Carson, L. Pierce (April 7, 2014). "French Laundry will close temporarily for expansion". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  7. "French Laundry reopens, reveals renovation plans". Napa Valley Register. April 7, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  8. 1 2 Alexander, Pat (2009). Yountville. Arcadia Publishing. p. 29. ISBN 9780738569659. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  9. "The French Laundry: Thomas Keller". Los Angeles Magazine. 45 (8): 136. Aug 2000. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  10. Woolever, Laurie. "Chef Talk: Thomas Keller". Wine Spectator Online. M. Shanken Communications, Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  11. Friedman, Gabe (February 8, 2004). "Famed eatery seeks alternative energy source". Napa Valley Register. Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  12. "Menus & Stories". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  13. "Chef's Tasting Menu – 26 October 2015" (PDF). The French Laundry. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  14. "Tasting of Vegetables – 26 October 2015" (PDF). The French Laundry. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  15. Forbes, Paula. "Timothy Hollingsworth Is Out at French Laundry; Per Se's David Breeden Is In". Vox Media Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  16. Wells, Pete, The New York Times (September 28, 2008). French Laundry Sous Chef Will Represent U.S. in Bocuse d’Or
  17. Cowin, Diana, Food & Wine (February 2009). Competing at the Bocuse d’Or: Team USA’s Unbeatable Recipes
  18. Sciolino, Elaine, The New York Times: Diner's Journal (January 28, 2009). The American Chef Comes in Sixth
  19. Zimmer, Erin (May 29, 2009). "Per Se's Kitchen, Still Well-Stocked and Watching the French Laundry on Flat-Screen TV | Serious Eats : New York". Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  20. Lucchessi, Paolo (January 12, 2015). "Thomas Keller to launch temporary restaurant at Silverado: Ad Lib". Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  21. Stolerman, William (November 2, 2010). "Mandarin Oriental HK Welcoming Chef Thomas Keller". Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  22. "The French Laundry at Harrods: Thomas Keller interview". September 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  23. Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
  24. "San Francisco 2013 Michelin Guide; Michelin Travel & Lifestyle". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
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