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Meet Elin and Andy Trousdale of Le Bistro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elin and Andy Trousdale.

Elin and Andy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After obtaining a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and working in the hospitality industry for a few years, I basically walked away from the whole bit. Fast forward many years later I met my dream man on a Caribbean Island and here we are. It can be a bit challenging to have a relationship with a chef who works very long hours. As the islands are quite casual, I spent a lot of time at the restaurant he was leading, doing random jobs as needed. Blind of things to come, we began a working relationship along with our romantic partnership from the very start of things. The seeds were planted. Having worked around the world, Andy was ready for his own place and I liked the challenge and idea of it.

After not having much success in locating a place in the Islands to hang our hat, we relocated to South Florida. Andy had connections from working in South Florida at notable restaurants after arriving in 1992 as a chef on a Private Mega Yacht. I had friends and family here and an active Florida real estate license to assist in the process of finding a location. Shortly thereafter, in January of 2001, we purchased Le Bistro in the beautiful city of Lighthouse Point.

Has it been a smooth road?
A smooth road? No. It has not been at all. Consider the industry itself and all the general challenges facing a restaurant business. Now add a few toppings on the cake. Ouch! It can get really difficult at times. But, we earn a living and no one can fire us, so that’s a really good thing.

We purchased an existing business that literally passed hands from the prior owner to us in a day. It was good in a way, as the income stream was immediate. What we didn’t understand was how difficult it is to try to step into another owners shoes. Change is not always good in the way one would think. We attempted to strike a balance between what the patrons were used to and upscaling the menu. Appreciated by some and not by others It was a rough start. To keep us financially afloat, Andy taught culinary at the Art Institute for 7 years while we ran the restaurant and raised a child. It could be very overwhelming at times.

We felt very out of place in an area where the clientele thought chicken Francaise to be a fancy French dish, not the Italian-American dish it is. In spite of it all, the reviews began to come in. The Miami Herald gave us a four-star review and the Sun-Sentinel 3.5 stars. Six months into ownership, the very unfortunate tragedy of 9/11 occurred. My heart always remains in my hometown of New York City. I pulled together a very successful fundraiser for the Twin Towers Orphan Fund. Not long after the politics had everyone boycotting anything French.

The majority of South Florida Bistros went out of business. It was suggested that we change the name Le Bistro to something generic. We knew eventually the trend would pass, Sure enough, French food is all cool again. Just last night a customer shouted in the middle of the restaurant “What are doing here? Why aren’t you in Miami? This place is so fabulous!”

In spite of it all, we managed to keep it together for this long a period of time, raise a fine young man who is a student at the University of Florida (who is able to cook well), evolve with the times and keep our heads above water.

We remain determined to stick to our laurels and offer the best and freshest food we can in spite of others perceptions of what we should be doing to meet the needs of the masses. Over the years we have become recognized for what we do best by the finest of clientele and we appreciate that.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Le Bistro – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am very proud of the fact we have sustained our business in spite of many challenges for such a long period of time. It is really a wonderful thing to be able to have a business and the ability to express one’s talents within it. Andy is a very highly trained European chef who has been preparing all the meals served to our guests six nights a week since 2001. Like many a rare chef run restaurant, Andy’s menu changes seasonally with specials offered at whim.

Andy has created his own style of cooking based upon the highly complex classical dishes he worked with at Three Star Michelin restaurants in Europe for many years at the start of his career. We have many favored dishes that include steaks and classics such as beef wellington and steak Diane. We offer the finest and freshest seafood that comes to us locally and afar. A good selection of vegan dishes are offered and, just because Andy believes in cooking clean, 98% of our menu is gluten-free. Our food is prepared to order and everything is prepared in-house from the bread to the ice cream, all sauces, dressing, whipped cream, desserts. That is what we do.

We know every ingredient in every item and we know where all our food comes from. Our wine list compliments the menu with many 90 plus rated wines, a lot of varietals from all over the world. Our place is very intimate and friendly. We have made many, many friends who began as customers and with whom we socialize with outside of the business. We help a lot of causes as best we can. I am proud to be the other half of a successful marriage, business and parenting partnership. We are happy every day having so much in common.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Being from a large city like New York, I certainly appreciate how easy it is, for the most part, to get around. It’s nice to be able to just get in the car and drive somewhere without too much of a hassle. The stores are never very crowded. It’s an easier life all around. I appreciate the cultural diversity and the many friendly people everywhere. I love Miami and all it has to offer by way of food, art and soul…

For me, the long hot summers are tough. It gets to be too much heat for me. Come September, it’s time for a season change. I suffer till November when things begin to cool down. The other thing I dislike is the way people drive here. You know that thing they do when you put your signal on to change lanes and they deliberately speed up not to let you in? I can’t to this day understand that. Now I laugh knowing it’s going to happen every time. And lastly, we tend to eat out a lot. Some of the food offered is just plain not

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