Thursday, January 21, 2010

On the Menu: Restaurant Florent

"For the same reasons we have to preserve architecture, we have to preserve graphics." -- Tibor Kalman, The New York Times, February 11, 1988

Restaurant Florent opened its doors at 69 Gansevoort Street in 1985 (Bryan Miller, in his 1986 New York Times review, called it "an Edward Hopper painting come to life"), and the restaurant remained a constant landmark in the Meatpacking District for nearly a quarter century, until it closed in 2008. While much has been written about Florent, the restaurant, and Florent Morellet, the restaurateur, the menu itself is one of the most potent reminders of the beloved eatery.

The menu was designed by the great graphic design firm M&Co., which was headed by Tibor Kalman (July 6, 1949 - May 2, 1999). Kalman was also the creative force behind the China Grill logo, the Talking Heads albums Remain in Light and Naked, Colors Magazine and much more. Kalman left the inside of the menu simple -- a playful retro design (in keeping with the diner atmosphere inside the restaurant) -- while displaying colorful maps of world cities in front, a different city for each menu. The result is a wonderfully clean design with a sense of humor and a clearly recognized brand.

When Florent closed, the Library was generously given a few menus for the collection -- all undated -- plus a 1985 menu from the restaurant's first year in business. I'm thrilled to have them included in the Library's archive.


Janet said...

Florent was the best! Thanks for this post!

Knitting Out Loud said...

So sad that it closed. Lovely that you have the menus!

Village Books said...

What a great idea for a blog!

reenz said...

thank you for this post. as a native new yorker, florent was a real treasure and i am so sad it's gone but it makes me very happy to know the menus are safe and in your good hands! NOTHING hit the spot at 3 am like a plate of florent's french fries and a steamed artichoke.