Food, Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

Monday, February 11, 2013 / 5:15 AM

Bye-Bye Bella: Rue Lafayette Is Closed--for now

Bye-Bye Bella: Rue Lafayette Is Closed--for now

Anyone who knows the Rue Lafayette café knows owner Araceli Kopiloff and her Boston Terrier, Bella (at left), always on the premises and often in pearls. If you like dogs you have to marvel at how Kopiloff dotes on her little gal, including the frittata that the Rue staff cooks up for Bella each a.m.

It is with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to these splendid ladies, who will continue to haunt the environs in some fashion, but no longer at Kopiloff’s Francophile café, which has closed – for now. 


The long story short is that Kopiloff and her husband are in the middle of a divorce and Rue Lafayette is a bone of contention.

On her Facebook page, Kopiloff (right) has posted:

“Here is the E True Hollywood story: due to divorce Rue had to close (not my choice) there is a chance it may go on with new management. If it does, stand behind it 110%. Great people. They will keep the name and format. They love the bands and Bella and I will be involved in some level. But...if they don't, Rue will be closed forever. As for me, this wasn't my last weekend and it will be closed until we find out if this new deal will be made. I hope it is because I put all of my heart into it. Keep your fingers crossed.”

In an interview with Relish, Kopiloff confided that she has attempted a variety of measures to keep Rue Lafayette open, including selling the business to a third party, but no agreement has yet been reached.

For the last month or more, the café’s hours of business had been reduced to the weekends. Employees had also been warned for some time, said Kopiloff, that they should look for work elsewhere because of the continuing inability to reach an agreement on who, going forward, would run the business.

In its three years of operation, the café (below) became known for doughy croissants imported from Paris, booze-spiked hot chocolate, the small antiques-shop annex with seating for patrons, concerts featuring nostalgic swing acts like Miss Jubilee, weekend brunches, and the charming Kopiloff holding court – with Bella – at the front of the house.

More as we learn it.

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Old to new | New to old
Feb 11, 2013 06:21 pm
 Posted by  savingstlouis

I am the other half of Rue Lafayette. Ara and I conceived Rue Lafayette in 2009 after the building was bought, it originally was to be just a antique store and boutique, since Ara was in the fashion industry, and I had collected antiques for 30 years, it was a great fit. I had always had this dream of creating a enchanting, warm, cozy place; eclectic, creative, full of fantasy .. everywhere you looked you were amazed, your eyes glowing with excitment, someplace one would be excited to tell a friend about, dreaming of returning just as soon as you could. A long term project, it was going to be. Things moved ahead very quickly though, as all who know Ara, she does not sit still for long. We then had met a pastry chef, and it morphed into Rue Lafayette Cafe. From there, we were lucky enough to develop and create an incredible, dedicated following of employees,customers,media, and the friendships I developed are going to be life long. I will cherish all I have met, friends from the East Coast, West Coast, Northwest, the South, France, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Asia, Germany.... it has been a magical, mystical, fabulous ride, but, unfortunately, people get burned out, change ideas, change partners, do I understand it?, I do not....not this guy who grew up in Concord Village, but, it happens everyday, everywhere, and I have accepted it. So, I hope everyone believes me when I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support, love, friendships, and kindness these past three years, you have been the reason Rue Lafayette was there. I will see you all again soon!! Thank you!! Richard Zimmer, Owner, Rue Lafayette. You can find me on Facebook.

Feb 16, 2013 10:53 am
 Posted by  ShoppinAround

What sad news! Sad for Richard and Aracelli, and a great loss for Lafayette Square and St. Louis. Rue Lafayette really was a one-of-a-kind establishment, and you can't say that about many places.

Very sad.

Mar 13, 2013 08:19 am
 Posted by  whitelove

Araceli & Bella were definitely what made Rue 'Rue'

May 15, 2013 11:09 pm
 Posted by  stlouisqtpie

rick zimmer has got to now be the most hated man in st louis today poor thing. and now very alone in this world seeing that all his family is gone and has isolated him. good going Dick we all thank you

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