Remembering Leon Bierbaum, owner of Chez Leon

Long time St. Louis restaurateur dies at 68.

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Leon

I'm so saddened by this news. I worked with Leon on his advertising at Sauce. He never failed to make me smile. I will raise a glass to him tonight. Cheers Leon!

Angie more than 1 year ago

Pommes Frites

When my daughter was 8 years old, my wife went on sabbatical and I became temporarily a single parent. I explained to my daughter (who was and is quite musical) that, since Mom was away, I would like for her to come to the symphony with me in Mom’s place. She thought about it a minute and asked “Can I bring Harry Potter?”. Of course”, I said, “as long as you turn the pages very, very quietly”. (And indeed this turned out to be the form of our concerts together for the next few years. I figured the music is going into her head one way or another. Sometimes the “setting” of childhood is one of the most enduring things.) But, I went on to explain that, in order to do this, she had to get dressed up and that she and I were going out for dinner together before the performance. And so we did, arriving early that evening at Chez Leon. There my daughter had her Steak and Frites while I tucked into the transcendental experience of sweetbreads, a dish hard to find anywhere else in St. Louis. Of course, Leon was there as ever the beaming, courtly host, welcoming us and recommending an excellent bottle of wine for us. But as we left, I went over to him and said “Leon, I want you to know that my daughter has paid you a very high compliment indeed”. (His eyebrows rose). “She said to me ‘Dad, you know, these French fries don’t need any ketchup’”. You could have fit an entire duck press sideways into the width of his smile. We will not see his like soon again.

Daniel Hanson more than 1 year ago

Leon birnbaum

So happy you posted this tribute to the beloved Leon! He will be sorely missed by many for his divine hospitality, wit, charm and bonhomie. A true gentleman who knew how to make everyone feel at home, and who can forget the white asparagus and strawberries he would bring in from Marthasville! Salut and cheers Leon!

Helene Sayad more than 1 year ago

An Old Cheshire Inn Alum

I worked with Leon at Cheshire Inn in the late 70s and early 80s. We laughed and laughed in the back of the house and after work at Lou's. While doing his job as he was always professional and brought such dignity to the job. I'll never forgot him.

Anita Manne more than 1 year ago

Ever the Gentleman

I remember Leon for the wonderful dinner parties he would throw at his home. After a trip to France he would come back with these fabulous recipes and a set of copper he just HAD to break in. I have never eaten so well in my life. He was the consummate host, and despite his conservative presentation, he was quick with the jokes and could make you laugh till you cried. A great man, a great loss

Calvin Coleman more than 1 year ago

Leon

We met Leon in 1998 when our son started Law School at Wash U. At the time we lived in Boston and my French husband was delighted and amazed to find a true brasserie, and not in Boston. Over the years Leon watched our family marry and grow. Leon was so gracious and understanding , though an adult restaurant when the wee ones arrived he would go down the block and borrow a highchair. Gentile, gentleman and a true Frenchman. This bon vivant will be missed.

Toni Pentecouteau more than 1 year ago

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