Goodbye to an old friend: La Bonne Auberge closes December 19

The famous New Hope gastronomic landmark, La Bonne Auberge, will be closing its doors this month. Read Susan S. Yeske’s article on the couple who brought such exquisite French food to Bucks County in this week’s Bucks County Herald. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

A chance encounter brought Gerard and Rozanne Caronello to New Hope 38 years ago; the pleasure of cooking for customers who appreciate Gerard’s classic French cuisine has kept them there.

On December 19 their award-winning restaurant, La Bonne Auberge, will serve its last meal and the Caronellos will begin their retirement. Tears are being shed over the closing, Gerard said, by their dear and faithful customers as well as the couple themselves. But the time has come.

“I don’t mind the work,” he explains. “Physically, I just can’t do it anymore.” Caronello said his knees, eyesight and back can no longer tolerate the necessary 16-hour workdays. A workday, he explained, begins at 3 a.m. when he heads for the farm market to buy fresh ingredients for the day. It ends after he prepares the last meal that evening. At 67, he has been cooking for 51 years, and that is enough.

Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier, he said, explaining, “It’s easier to start a business than to close it.”…

The menu at La Bonne Auberge has changed and evolved over the years, but there are some dishes that remain on every menu. Caronello said the protests would be too great if he stopped preparing his signature Dover sole, lobster and rack of lamb dishes. Add to that list his caviar, foie gras, Coquille St. Jacques and escargot and you get a better idea of the traditional French cuisine that brings customers back to the restaurant…

Retirement may bring an end to the 16-hour days, but it won’t bring an end to work. Caronello said he will lead a group of students on a trip to the Champagne region of France and plans to conduct additional tours of his native country as well. But likely most of his cooking will be done at home.

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