Legacy department store Saks Fifth Avenue has gotten in on the retail restaurant craze with a splashy new upcoming opening — bringing the team behind Parisian celebrity hot spot L’Avenue and high-profile designer Philippe Starck for the decor.
The new NYC outpost of L’Avenue will open in early February on the ninth floor at 611 Fifth Ave., at 50th Street, as a part of Saks’ $250 million renovation to modernize, WSJ Magazine reports. The French-Thai restaurant is a celebrity magnet in Paris, attracting the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Mariah Carey, and owners Jean-Louis Costes and Alex Denis have brought the brand to New York City in an attempt to keep that exclusive spirit alive.
Accordingly, the venue is spread across two floors that look out at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and 30 Rock. Starck — a French designer who is known for his iconic furniture and is behind Hollywood hot spots like the Bazaar and Katsuya — did the interiors here. He made the dining room more upscale, and a downstairs bar area on the more casual side.
The dining room is done up in beige and ivory with stained-glass windows offering glimpses into the kitchen. Food is similar to what’s available in Paris, with dishes like spicy beef tenderloin and tom yum chile sea bass. One floor down, a bar area is full of ski chalet-type furniture — moose heads, tree-trunk beams — meant for people to linger and work or take meetings alongside cocktails.
L’Avenue joins an influx of retail restaurants that have opened in that last couple of years, as retailers look outside the box to attract shoppers. Recent entrants include La Mercerie at Roman and Williams Guild, 10 Corso Como, and Blue Box Cafe at Tiffany’s. Other changes to Saks include moving beauty to the second floor, opening up the windows for natural light, and doing away with traditional departments.
There’s a separate entrance to the restaurant on 50th Street, though Saks hopes diners will go through the store.
Correction: January 15, 2019, 6:55 p.m. This article was corrected to show that the restaurant is not yet open.