Pascal Cayet Shares Secrets to Making a Restaurant Feel Like Home

Perhaps one of Dallas’s best-kept secrets is Lavendou Bistro. The provincial style restaurant, which rests outside of far north Dallas’s Bent Trail neighborhood, specializes in authentic French cuisine. Although French culture is often associated with luxury and hyper-romance, owner and operator Pascal Cayet wants for Lavendou to have a more familial feel.

“I opened up my first restaurant, Chez Girard, in 1984 on McKinney Avenue,” Cayet says. “It was a country, French restaurant, but I wanted to do something different.”

Cayet eventually sold Chez Girard, then opened up Lavendou Bistro in 1996.

“Lavendou is more of a Provençal restaurant, inspired by south of France,” Cayet says. “A couple of friends and I had gone on vacation in the south of France and wanted to recreate some of the feelings and bring them over here.”

French onion soup from Lavendou Bistro (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

And thus, Lavendou Bistro was born. Since its opening nearly 22 years ago, the menu has stayed relatively the same. Lavendou has since become well known for its signature items, including their souffle.

“Not too many people do souffle anymore,” Cayet says. “It’s very time consuming, but making a good souffle is a matter of having the right ingredients, the combination, and the right oven. In the beginning, making a souffle can be challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.”

Having built a strong customer base over the course of the past two decades, Cayet has made very few changes to the menu, for the sake of the customers.

“I think some of my customers might kill me if they saw that their favorite item was no longer on the menu,” Cayet says humorously. “Oftentimes, they come in with the same order each time, which is why we try to keep our menu consistent.”

Tournedos Félix Faure (via Facebook)

Both Cayet and his customers are very fortunate to have had much of the same staff working in Lavendou since its opening.

“We’ve had the same cooks, the same servers, and same waiting staff for almost 22 years,” Cayet says. “Most of our patrons are regulars, so the servers know their customers’ orders by heart.”

Lavendou Bistro’s signature crème brûlée (via Facebook)

Because of the fact that Cayet has emphasized consistency in his operations, this has established a sense of familiarity with Lavendou’s customers, allowing them to feel at home. Guests are often so satisfied with their experience that they will often bring new customers into the mix.

“Sometimes, bringing in new customers can be a challenge, since everything tends to stay the same,” Cayet says. “But luckily, our regular customers bring in their friends and family all the time, so we pull in a lot of new customers organically.”

Whether you try the gooey goodness that is Lavendou’s French onion soup, or one of their delicious soufflé, customers are in for an authentic French experience at Lavendou.

On April 1, Lavendou will be having an Easter Sunday brunch, featuring a special menu. Tickets run at $42.95 each, plus beverage, tax, and gratuity. Call (972)-248-1911 to make your reservation today.