LIVE TO EAT: Remembering Bastille Day dinners at Bistro New Albany and Bank Street Brewhouse, 2006-2010.


It’s Bastille Day.

The number of New Albany eateries has proliferated in recent years, but few if any of them have been marking the occasion, at least since the Frenchman retired just before Christmas in 2015.

Happy retirement, chef: Louis le Francais has left the building.

There was a time when I was determined to help jump-start a Bastille Day tradition. Bistro New Albany was first, then Bank Street Brewhouse, then finally Louis le Francais, who of course was most authentic of all because he was French.

The most fondly remembered Bastille Day celebration probably was the first, a couple of days late on July 16, 2006.

Recap: Bastille Day Bieres de Garde dinner at Bistro New Albany.

In 2006, Bastille Day came two days late … to New Albany, but a hardy group of 26 revelers beat the heat at the Bistro New Albany yesterday and celebrated French cuisine and fermentation science.

These are legendary photos, and bittersweet.

Bistro New Albany survived to stage a second Bastille Day dinner in 2007, although this time Chef Clancy moved it indoors. The format was much the same, and the evening was well attended.

Photos: Bastille Day Biere de Garde Dinner at Bistro New Albany.

Bank Street Brewhouse picked up the ball on July 14, 2009 with chef Josh Lehman in the kitchen.

Bastille Day recap.

Thanks to those attending last evening’s Bastille Day event at the Brewhouse, and to the cast and crew for making it possible. We served more than 30 of the fixed-price, five-course meals, and exhausted the supply of French Bieres de Garde.

BSB did it again in 2010.

On Bastille Day, July 14, a 5-course French Biere de Garde dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse.

On Wednesday, July 14, the Bank Street Brewhouse will honor France’s national holiday, Bastille Day, with an exclusive five-course, fixed-price French menu prepared by Chef Josh Lehman and his intrepid kitchen staff.

As before, this year’s Bastille Day meal comes complete with flavors of French-brewed Bieres de Garde, as well as American craft versions of Northern France’s famous specialty style of malty, food-friendly ale.

I don’t mind saying that going back and reliving these events that took place during the years 2006-2010 produces a considerable kick of nostalgia. I’m not sure anyone involved ever really made money from these meals, but it was downtown’s “Wild West” period, and anything seemed possible.

We’ve gained so much in the years since. We’ve also lost something, and as the French say, “C’est la vie.”