Feud: Is La Cote Basque a Real Restaurant in NYC? Is it Still Open?

In Hulu’s ‘Feud: Capote vs The Swans,’ the women of high society are shocked when a friend they considered dearest and nearest to them betrays them by spilling their secrets for the whole world to read. The writer in question is Truman Capote, with whom the women shared many meals at their homes and their regular hangout spot, La Côte Basque. This is where they would sit around and talk about all kinds of things, which they would later read about in Capote’s article. The show focuses on their feud by focusing on some real-life locations that the socialites often frequented.

La Côte Basque Closed Down in the Early 2000s

La Côte Basque was a real restaurant in New York City and was noted to be “the high-society temple of French cuisine.” It opened in the late 1950s and was the heart of the town where New York’s elites would share meals and gossip, among other things. The restaurant, where the menu was entirely in French without translation, was eventually closed down on March 7, 2004, owing to the changing tides of the time, making the owners of the restaurant evolve in what they wanted the place to be.

La Côte Basque was located on East Fifty-fifth Street, right across from St. Regis. Henri Soulé first used the site for the original Le Pavilion but was forced to give it up after a disagreement with his landlord. Eventually, however, Soulé came around to it again and opened La Côte Basque in place of the Pavillion. The place quickly became the hotspot for the town’s richest to come and dine there while also flaunting their latest fashion choices.

This is where Truman Capote spends a lot of his days in ‘Feud.’ Eventually, when he decides to use the secrets of his friends against them, he acknowledges the restaurant’s role in the story. The excerpt published in Esquire was titled, ‘La Côte Basque 1965.’ This is also where the Swans, previously his friends, decide to take the war to him before he chooses the next victim and ruins their lives. Before someone else in their circle is ruined by his actions, they decide to end his entire career, no matter what it takes.

Following its closedown in 2004, La Côte Basque moved to 60 East 55th, but even the move and the effort to reinvent itself was not enough to keep it afloat. Jean-Jacques Rachou, who became the owner of the place in 1979, revealed that in a week itself, he had spent $2,200 on flowers and $3,000 on linens. They couldn’t keep up with the changing demands of the times and a different face of NYC’s elite social life. Speaking of the decision to close its doors, the owners said that it was “simply a great restaurateur deciding to ease off at age 70.” It makes sense that the place would rather go out on a high than fizzle into something that doesn’t hold any meaning anymore. Now, the Polo Bar stands in the same location as La Côte Basque.

Read More: John O’Shea and Truman Capote’s Turbulent Relationship, Explained