Don't walk away, Rene

Watel's restaurant closes, leaving legendary York Street space vacant

Watel's restaurant closes, leaving legendary York Street space vacant

York Street, Watel's
Previous occupant of Watel's space was the beloved York Street. Photo by Brad Murano
Watel's, York Street
Sign on front door reads "Watel's is closed for business." Photo by Teresa Gubbins
York Street, Watel's
Watel's, York Street

Sometime over the weekend, Watel's Bistro, the small, quirky French restaurant owned by chef Rene Peeters, closed down. The evidence could be seen posted on the door, with a hand-lettered sign that stated, "Watel's is closed for business."

Contacted via email, Peeters refrained from discussing the details of the closure.

Watel's resided in the small, elegant spot once occupied by the revered York Street, which closed in 2010. Before that, Watel's had a long history, dating back to its go-go years in the '80s and '90s in Uptown Dallas, where it was originally launched by Damien Watel.

It saw bumpier times after moving to Greenville Avenue in 2010, when Peeters established an ambitious beachhead with a combination gift shop/restaurant called World Piece Cafe.

A year later, frustrated that people didn't understand his elaborate Greenville Avenue concept, he decamped to the York Street space. He kept the same menu, with exotics like liver and onions, foie gras, and calf brains, and that was enough to earn a 2-star review from the Dallas Morning News, which praised Peeters' BLT soup and front-of-the-house skills.