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86th and Madison – A Fashionable Q&A with Restaurateur Eric Demarchelier

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Eric Demarchelier grew up in a family of artists — his mother was a classically trained dancer, and his brother is famed fashion photographer Patrick — so it is of little surprise that his has been a life full of creative pursuits.

After initially training as an actor in Paris, he and his wife relocated to New York City in 1978, where he, his brother, and two other photographers opened the original location of the French restaurant Demarchelier at 62nd Street and Lexington.

Over the last 40 years the restaurateur has not only opened six restaurants, but taken up yet another artistic hobby: painting. His original works line the walls at the latest Demarchelier, located at 86th Street and Madison.

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1. How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in the restaurant industry?

I was a food and beverage manager at Club Med, and when I left Club Med, I decided I wanted to open a restaurant. I came to New York to see my brother, Patrick, and I loved it, so I decided to open my restaurant here.

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2. What is your biggest career highlight to date?

The night I opened my first restaurant.

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3. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

One night Bill Murray and Sidney Pollack had dinner together, and at the end of the night they had ten bottles of wine at the table, sent over by customers!

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4. How would you describe your personal style? 

Classic and cool!

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5. What is a typical day in your life like? 

I have no routine, I must say.

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6. What are three never-miss events on your calendar? 

Going on vacation, my wife’s birthday, and my kids’ birthdays.

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7. What are your three favorite locations in the city?

The streets, Central Park, and sailing around Manhattan.

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8. What are your three favorite restaurants in the city?

Mine (Demarchelier), L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and La Goulue.

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9. What about your three favorite bars?

I don’t go to bars anymore!

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10. What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?

The best was the birth of my son, and the worst losing the lease on my first restaurant.

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11. Name your go-to: 

a. Outfit — Jeans and a white shirt

b. Fragrance — Habit Rouge

c. Movie — Romance movies!

d. Book — Adventures

e. TV show — I don’t watch TV that much.

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12. Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special? 

I like St. Barts and the hotel Le P’tit Morne. It has a wonderful staff, beautiful view, and is very quiet.

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13. What are your three most played songs?

Bajofondo’s “Pa’Baillar,” Charles Dumont’s “Les Amants,” and Frantz Shubert’s “Inpromtus.”

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14. What are three items you couldn’t live without?

Bottle of wine and an opener, a bathing suit, and a golf bag.

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15. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I have no idea!

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16. What is something people might not know about you?

I’m a little on the shy side.

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17. When did you feel like you had “made it” professionally?

After I opened my sixth restaurant.

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18. Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in the restaurant industry?

It’s important to love people, you have to stay young, and never forget teamwork! Also: When you can, open your own.

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19. What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next 5-10 years?

I think the restaurant business is going to become an industry.

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To learn more about Demarchelier, visit http://www.demarchelierrestaurant.com/

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Demarchelier Interior

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Images Courtesy of Demarchelier Restaurant