Grand Award-Winning Restaurant Bleu Provence Sold

One of the top restaurants in the world for wine is changing owners. On June 29, executives at Hoffmann Family of Companies announced it is purchasing Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Bleu Provence, an iconic wine destination in Naples, Fla. owned by wife-and-husband-duo Lysielle and Jacques Cariot. The Bleu Provence deal will likely close by mid-August. Neither side disclosed the purchase price.

“When we’re buying the restaurant, we’re buying the reputation and the experience that others have enjoyed for years,” owner David Hoffmann told Wine Spectator. Hoffmann is a billionaire who made his fortune as founder of executive search firm DHR International. He and his wife, Jerri, moved to Naples in 2015 and now own 42 commercial properties in the region, as well as several other area businesses. “We want to be a good steward of what Jacques and his wife have created. It’s such a unique and iconic place for Naples, and I’m happy that we’re in a position to continue that legacy for the family.”

Opened in 1999 by the Cariots, Bleu Provence was the couple’s idea of an early retirement. They had moved to Naples from northern France two years prior. The restaurant itself was the brainchild of Lysielle, who heads the kitchen, heavily drawing inspiration from the cuisine of Provence. Jacques agreed to open the eatery on the condition that he was responsible for the wine cellar, and his ambitious program won its first Grand Award in 2015. Today, the cellar boasts over 5,500 individual labels, including robust selections from Burgundy, California and Bordeaux. The 60,000-bottle wine cellar was included in the sale and will remain at Bleu Provence. The Cariots did not respond to requests for comment on the sale.

“Bleu Provence is one of my very favorite places to dine in the U.S.,” said Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken. “Each meal is memorable, and the wine list is extraordinary. I wish the Cariot family a well-deserved retirement.”

[article-img-container][src=2023-07/ns_blueprovencecariotsb070523_1600.jpg] [credit= (Andrew Meade)] [alt= Group portrait in the dining room at Bleu Provence. From left to right: chef Lysielle Cariot, wine directors Jacques and Clement Cariot, and manager Kevin Cariot.][end: article-img-container]

The two sides had been discussing a deal since last year, even before Bleu Provence suffered damage from Hurricane Ian. The Cariots renovated and reopened. This will be Hoffmann’s first endeavor in classical fine dining, following a career investing in a plethora of industries, including sports, avation, milling and local media.

The Cariot’s two sons, Clément and Kevin, will remain on board, along with the rest of the staff. Clément is responsible for managing the wine cellar, and Kevin is the restaurant’s general manager. Hoffmann claims his mission is to keep Bleu Provence as unchanged as possible. He says many longtime diners have written to him to congratulate him on the news, but also to ask that he not touch the restaurant’s signature blue-and-white coloring or the French menu. The only major change in the works is the addition of a private club adjoining the restaurant, highlighting the wine collection. Those renovations will not start until later in the year, according to Hoffmann, and will finish by May 2024.

[article-img-container][src=2023-07/ns_blueprovenceint070523_1600.jpg] [credit= (Andrew Meade)] [alt= A look at the bar and cellar of Bleu Provence, with blue walls and wine bottles covering almost every surface.][end: article-img-container]

Wine is a growing passion of Hoffmann’s. In recent years, he has made…

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Grand Award-Winning Restaurant Bleu Provence Sold Grand Award-Winning Restaurant Bleu Provence Sold *Grand Award-Winning Restaurant Bleu Provence Sold