Fun Fact: Le Pavillon, built in 1907, was originally known as New Denechaud Hotel. After several owners, the hotel was renamed to Le Pavillon as a tribute to New Orleans’ french roots. Today, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is said to even be home to a ghost or two.
After hitting it off as co-workers, Peter was offered the opportunity to be the Senior Vice President at Innisbrook Golf Resort (just 8 miles North of Dunedin), a few years later Innisbrook need an executive chef and Peter knew just who to call, Karl.
The Making of Bon Appétit Restaurant…
By the mid-1970s, Peter and Karl knew it was time to leave Innisbrook. They decided to take their destiny into their own hands by stepping into the roles of entrepreneurs and opening their own restaurant.
Having never been to Dunedin before, Peter and Karl took a drive to what is now known as Bon Appétit Restaurant. Let’s just say it was not love at first sight, the restaurant needed a lot of work. “Everything needed to be cleaned. Money was tight, so cosmetically we painted and replaced the carpet”, remembers Karl. The pair knew then that the waterfront location was a plus, but seeing as Main Street diverts left before heading down to the Marina and Restaurant, there was some cause for concern. How would they attract customers?
Fun Fact: Back in 1976, Downtown Dunedin was nothing like what it is today. Hard to image now, but there were empty storefronts and no other restaurants until countryside! And 580 was just a two lane road.
Since the business partners had both built their careers working in 5 star kitchens and resorts, they were ready to make Bon Appétit the best restaurant in their market area. Over the first couple of years, local business really buzzed and Bon Appétit quickly achieved this goal, earning the 4 Star Mobil Rating as Florida’s Best Restaurant on the West Coast for 10 consecutive years in a row (Meaning…”An Outstanding establishment in a distinctive setting with expanded amenities and exceptional service to create a luxury experience”. Today, the Mobil Travel Rating is known as the Forbes Travel Guide).
As Bon Appétit continued to grow, giving back to the community became a priority as well. From providing holiday meals to Meals on Wheels to countless other contributions over the years, giving back became part of the culture, “The Community is our guests, they support us, so it’s only fair we are active and give back,” shares Peter.
Not just surviving but thriving through the years…
With years of experience, Peter and Karl both possessed the skills needed to run a successful restaurant, but it takes more than skill to keep the momentum going for 4 decades! If you asked both of them what they say the number one reason their business has been successful for 40 years, it is “Because we love what we do!”