NEW YORK – Ludovic Lefebvre can stomach just one more bite.
After five years of LudoBites – hugely popular guerrilla-style, short-lived eateries held mostly around Los Angeles – Lefebvre says he is done with so-called pop-up restaurants.
“Pop-ups have become a little ridiculous. I’ve become tired of it now,” he said. “I don’t want to be associated with that anymore. It’s time to change.”
It’s sad news for the French chef’s legions of fans, thousands of whom sometimes crashed online reservation sites when clamoring for hard-to-get tables at one of Lefebvre’s events.
The last LudoBites – all of which have been operated in existing restaurants, but using his own staff, decor and food – will be held in November.
But Lefebvre isn’t disappearing. By the end of the year, he plans to pop up – and stay put – with a new and permanent Los Angeles restaurant.
Called Le Routier, the restaurant will be modeled after – wait for it ... French truck stops of 20 or 30 years ago.
Lefebvre says these restaurants were known for serving excellent but affordable country-style food, dishes such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon.
Appropriately enough, the restaurant – which he described as something between a bistro and fine dining – will be in a strip mall and next to a gas station.
“I realized I wanted to cook for everybody and be more accessible,” said Lefebvre, whose just-released cookbook, LudoBites, recounts the challenges and rewards of running a vagrant restaurant.
Does he worry after so many years of wandering, settling down will seem staid?
“I get bored very fast,” he said, laughing. “The solution is to open a new concept.”
A new concept such as a high-end fried chicken eatery, for example. Perhaps as soon as next year.