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Beloved French Restaurant Closes in West Hollywood After 36 Years

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Cafe D’Etoile called it quits on Monday evening with a Facebook post

The entrance to Cafe D’Etoile in West Hollywood
Cafe D’Etoile
Cafe D’ Etoile website
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Cafe D’Etoile, one of West Hollywood’s longest-running restaurants, closed on Monday after a 36-year run on Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and San Vicente. The casual French cafe announced the news on its Facebook page, with WeHo Times confirming the closure. The Facebook post cites rising food, drink, and labor costs as the reason for its shutter, saying it was no longer financially viable to stay open.

Wehoville tracked the restaurant’s history, which began as a bar in the 1950s called The Barrel. In the late 1960s, the space changed into a high-end French restaurant called L’Etoile before it was renamed Café D’Étoile in 1983. Current owner Tom Doherty and his brother purchased the restaurant in 1993 for $150,000 using credit cards.

The all-day restaurant was seen as a neighborhood favorite, and locals remained loyal for decades. The sentiments poured in on Cafe D’Etoile’s Facebook page, including one from best-selling author Christopher Rice, who is also the son of notable author, Anne Rice:

A status update on Cafe D’Etoile’s Facebook page
A status update from a loyal customer on Cafe D’Etoile’s Facebook page
Cafe D’Etoile’s Facebook

Cafe D’Etoile’s closure represents a continuous cultural shift in West Hollywood. As incoming high-profile restaurants and bar openings replace longtime restaurants/bars and neighborhood businesses, locals have been suggesting that the neighborhood is losing its gay character.

Cafe D’Etoile’s Facebook page left the following message last night:

With a very heavy heart, we are sorry to announce that after 36 years we are closing our doors. With rising costs from...

Posted by Cafe D' Etoile on Monday, September 16, 2019

Cafe D’Etoile. 8941 1/2 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA