Georges LaForge, the owner of Pamplemousse le Restaurant, died early Sunday morning at age 82, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The chef, who opened the first independent French restaurant in Las Vegas, had “liver cancer and other ailments.”
Pamplemousse opened in July 1976 after LaForge struck up a friendship with singer Bobby Darin, who wanted to own a restaurant and loved the word pamplemousse, French for grapefruit. After Darin died at age 37 after heart surgery, LaForge converted his casual creperie The Morning After into the French fine dining restaurant.
Diana LaForge, Georges’ widow, says the restaurant is no longer up for sale and she will continue to operate it.
Located close to the former Sahara, now the SLS, the vintage environment has been able to lure a steady stream of conventioneers and loyal locals to its romantically lit “French cottage” interior, praised as a “unique atmosphere” by chef Rick Moonen.
Staffed with tuxedo-clad waiters, menu highlights include La Forge’s preparations of foie gras, escargot, osso bucco, baby wild boar, duck breast, and hot lava cake or chocolate souffle for dessert.
LaForge tells the RJ that her husband will be cremated. Diners who want to honor the chef’s life as a “bon vivant and raconteur” during a celebration of his life can call the restaurant at 702-733-2066 to attend.