Home » S.F. restaurant China Live expanding to the Louvre in Paris

S.F. restaurant China Live expanding to the Louvre in Paris

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The San Francisco restaurateur behind the massive Chinatown Food complex China Live is set to make its mark in Paris with its second multi-part restaurant in a landmark location.

Asia Live, as the name of the new venture suggests, expands the focus of owner and executive chef George Chen, Vietnamese, Thai Other Southeast Asian dishes.

located right next to An underground mall commonly known as the Louvre Museum. The Carousel du Louvre, Asia Live, faces an iconic inverted glass pyramid designed by Chinese-American architect IM Pei and cuts through a subterranean hall.

“You can almost touch it through the door,” said a giddy Chen.

A veteran of the SF dining world, Chen ran well-known restaurants such as Betelnut, which remained in business for over 20 years before closing in 2015. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SEEurope’s largest commercial real estate company.

At nearly 35,000 square feet, the high-rise cavernous venue replaces the Printemps department store and reflects the vast scale of the world’s largest art museum. His 20,000-square-foot main floor at Asia Live takes cues from China Live with two full-fledged restaurants and bars, a marketplace, and a café, plus a duck roaster and dim sum station. That includes his open kitchen. banquet hall.Mr. Chen joined a Shanghai-based architectural firm Neri&Hu Design Research Officehe said, also envisions a “stall corridor” reminiscent of Singapore’s tenements.

Owner and chef George Chen stopped by to chat with guests at China Live in San Francisco in 2017. His next venture, Asia Live, is set to open in Paris in 2024.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle

In addition to a speakeasy-style bar, lounge and small fine dining restaurant, the 7,000-square-foot mezzanine overlooking Grand Central Hall will house a test kitchen for collaboration with visiting chefs.

“I want this to be a living platform, like cooking itself,” he said. “A kind of food he’ll be a lab that explores all kinds of interacting cuisines.”

Despite their rich history and many presences, many of these cuisines and dining traditions have long been “ignored and neglected,” especially in the West, Chen said.

“I want to show the world what great, interpretive and modern (Chinese and Asian) cuisine looks like,” he added. But we want to make it really accessible.”

Chen acknowledges the ambitious scale and nature of the project, but is aiming for a Spring 2024 debut. He also noted the difficulty of obtaining approval from the city of Paris to introduce natural gas. He estimates that this is a bureaucratic process that could take years. Chen wants to use gas burners as fuel for his restaurant. wok cooking.

Chen hesitated to disclose costs, only pointing out that in Paris, typical commercial construction costs about €10,000 per square meter, or about $1,100 per square foot. About 20% of the space, mostly the basement, will need minimal renovation as it will be devoted to warehousing and preparation, he said.) The development of China Live in San Francisco will cost at least $20 million. I was. When it opened in 2017, he said.

Although annual visits to the Louvre were declining, 7.8 million Last year it was down nearly a quarter from its pre-pandemic peak, but we are confident that numbers will recover quickly as Paris prepares to host the Summer Olympics in 2024.Commercial landmarks, including recently renovated La Samaritan department store and Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collectionhe said, should become a central hub for both locals and tourists.

“I create vibrant experiences,” Chen said. “That’s why we call it Asia Live.”

This story has been updated to include Louvre tourism data for 2022.

Naoki Nitta is a food and sustainability writer based in San Francisco. Email: [email protected]

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