Way back when, going back to 1995, the owners of La Baguette opened a second location at downtown’s Journal Record Building. The restaurant was a hit, but the bombing of the neighboring Alfred P. Murrah Building ended the operation.
When I first learned Michel and Alain Buthion were planning to return downtown in 2006 to the renovated Colcord Hotel, I assumed they would reopen LaBaguette. I was wrong. A lot of people were wrong. Instead they came out with Soliel, which matched the initial hotel concept pushed by developer Paul Coury: swanky, expensive and if you have to ask how much, then too expensive for you.
This isn’t a concept that flies well in populist Oklahoma, regardless of income. Coury realized his mistake after one year, hired on Waterford veteran hotelier Jeff Erwin and made the hotel warmer, more approachable.
The Buthions, from what I’ve heard around town, didn’t follow suit and stuck to the Soliel concept which never matched their very popular LaBaguette. They’re artists, so let’s not jump to judging them. But it was a misfire.
Enter Devon Energy as the hotel’s new owner. Devon, from its CEO Larry Nichols on down, is very much the definition of “approachable.”
So now that Colcord officials have confirmed to me the restaurant is changing to LaBaguette (you can find evidence as well on their Soliel website, which is in transition), count me as someone who is not surprised.
None of this is meant to the highly regarded Buthions, who have a big, big following in this town. But being business requires that you give people what they want.