French restaurant surrenders to economic conditions - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

French restaurant in Hattiesburg surrenders to economic conditions

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - The Bistro Francais on Hardy Street opened in June. John Harrington joined the team as a chef in July cooking up a variety of French classics and Mediterranean dishes. He later became the establishment's Executive Chef.

"Well working here was actually a joy for me. The crew was good, we put up relatively good food all the time," said Harrington.

On Sunday, December 6th the restaurant served Sunday brunch like normal but on Monday according to Harrington, the situation was different.

"I came, I guess it was 9:30, 9:45 something like that. I opened the door walked in and all the tables were gone. The paintings were gone, everything in the kitchen was you know the pots and pans the racks all the equipment we use except my personal knife and my i-pod," said Harrington.

Adding fuel to the fire was a note left on the restaurant's door by the owner describing in their view what happened.

Harrington said, "It kind of made us out to be the bad guys saying the chefs weren't happy with the situation like this. When in fact when all three of us were in the kitchen it was probably one of the most enjoyable jobs we ever had."

According to published reports, the note said the restaurant could not keep passionate chefs working in this unappreciative environment. That environment apparently being the Hattiesburg community. Stacy Hall, another Bistro Francais chef was shocked by the message.

"I don't understand why they couldn't just accept their failure with dignity and respect to the community," said Hall.

John Harrington said the owners, Eric Vynckier and Catherine Edwards also owe him and Stacy Hall half a paycheck. They said attempts to contact the owners have been unsuccessful.

Seven on Your Side also repeatedly tried to contact the owners to discuss the restaurant's closure. However, we've received no response.

Copyright 2009 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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