So sad to learn that Lahiere’s is closing after so many years as one of Princeton’s favorite dining spots (Campus Notebook, Dec. 8).
Our first experience at Lahiere’s was in 1946, the year my husband entered Princeton as a freshman. As newlyweds, we lived in an apartment in the building next to Lahiere’s. So we were neighbors for several months while waiting for the completion of the Harrison Street Project.
Sometimes we could afford to go there for lunch. Soup was all we could afford; however, it was delicious and came with free, unlimited French bread. A memorable experience was the day we discovered oyster stew on the menu at an unbelievably low price that we actually could afford. Much to our chagrin, when the check came, it turned out that the price listed was a mistake! When management learned we did not have the cash to pay the real price, they good-naturedly abided by their mistake.
We continued to enjoy an occasional meal there for the six years of our Princeton residency, and over the years have frequented the restaurant on special trips to Princeton. But the second most memorable visit to the restaurant occurred almost 50 years after the first. In 1996 we were in Princeton for a reunion of some architectural students and decided to lunch there. It was our first visit since the restaurant had purchased the building next door and had greatly enlarged the restaurant. When I went up to the second floor to use the ladies’ room, I realized I was standing in what had been the kitchen in our old apartment.
What happened next is somewhat embarrassing. As we departed the restaurant I could not resist telling the owner about the coincidence of discovering my old kitchen and asked him if they still had such a problem with ants and cockroaches – as I had 50 years earlier. I meant for it to be taken as a facetious remark. By the look on the owner’s face, it was obviously not taken for such.
So it’s a bit late, but I apologize for my bad humor and thank the whole family for our many pleasant experiences at their restaurant. Princeton won’t seem the same place without this Witherspoon landmark.