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Chez Nous, Austin's oldest French restaurant, permanently closes after 39 years

Matthew Odam
Austin 360
Chez Nous, which opened in 1982, has permanently closed.

Cosmic cowboy music culture, wide-open spaces and freedom drew Pascal Regimbeau, and Sybil Reinhart to Austin in 1979. Chez Nous kept them here.

The couple (who married after arriving) and their late friend Robert Paprota opened the intimate neighborhood bistro in an unlikely location at the eastern edge of downtown on Neches Street in 1982. 

After 39 years of escargot, bonhomie and some late-night World Cup celebrations, the couple has decided to permanently shutter the restaurant that has been closed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The couple has sold the building, which they purchased in 1996 and which is also home to Aaron Rock & Roll and The Smoking Caterpillar, and intend to split their time between Austin and Provence, France, where their mothers live. 

People dined at Chez Nous for French classics like duck confit.

The husband and wife announced announced the closure of their Old World oasis via an email to their customers this week. 

"Again we want to thank you for helping us build our lives around this little restaurant. Small in size but so big for so many of us," the owners wrote in part in their newsletter. "It truly has been a lifetime of memories, of heartfelt relationships with customers, crew members, purveyors, our community and friends. And let’s not forget the simple culinary pleasures! We, all together, made it a wonderful ride!"

The owners asked in their farewell message that regulars and lovers of the restaurant share memories, stories, pictures, or simply stay in touch by emailing cheznous1982@yahoo.com.

We'll have more with Reinhart and Regimbeau in the weeks ahead.