In the heart of Piermont, NY, sits a French bistro that holds a special place in the fabric of the community — Sidewalk Bistro, run by Daout Celestin, the visionary owner who has woven warmth and camaraderie into the very essence of his restaurant. Born and raised in the picturesque city of Nice, France, Daout’s journey to becoming a beloved figure in Piermont began in an unexpected way.
With a background in computer programming, Daout set foot on American soil in 1986, thinking he would just stay for six months. Little did he know that fate had other plans for him. His mother’s culinary talent had ignited his passion for food, and his fondest childhood dining memories revolved around the comforting flavors of her cassoulet. Destiny intervened when he installed a computer system in a restaurant in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, sparking his foray into the world of French cuisine.
From that moment on, Daout’s life took a turn toward the restaurant business. He worked at Claude’s Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and then LeDuc, a French restaurant in Manhattan. It was while working at Claude’s, though, that fate brought Daout face to face with Peter Kelly, who had just opened Freelance Cafe in Piermont. Intrigued by the new venture, Daout visited the restaurant several times, eventually finding his place as part of Kelly’s team at Xaviar’s in 1990.
As the years rolled by, Daout’s love for Piermont grew, and in 2008, along with a partner, he took a leap of faith, purchasing a business from the former owners of the southwestern restaurant named Sidewalk Café, and opening their French restaurant, named Sidewalk Bistro, smack in the center of the village! The restaurant became an instant hit, not only for its delectable French cuisine but also for the heartfelt sense of community it fostered. The garden expansion in 2009 further cemented the bistro’s place as a welcoming establishment in the center of the village.
Over the years, Daout faced his fair share of challenges, two of which tested the bistro’s resilience and spirit. Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012, flooding the restaurant’s basement and forcing a two-month closure. Yet, Daout’s determination prevailed, and Sidewalk Bistro emerged stronger than ever. Then, the unforeseen arrival of the Covid pandemic in 2020 caused another temporary closure, but this time, the closure weighed heavily on Daout’s heart as he missed the cherished moments of camaraderie with his customers.
Daout’s authentic warmth and genuine interest in his customers have forged lasting friendships over the years. His bistro’s uniqueness lies not only in its delectable offerings but also in its central location in the heart of the community, acting as a beacon of light for locals and visitors alike. The bistro’s late-night hours allow people to gather, share stories, and revel in the joy of friendship, even after returning from city events.
During the annual Bastille Day celebration, Sidewalk Bistro shines brightly, drawing crowds from far and wide to partake in the festivities. What began as a small event in 2009 to highlight the connection between French and American history, has since grown into an annual tradition that brings vibrancy and visitors to Piermont.
Daout Celestin’s French bistro stands as a testament to the power of community, friendship, and a shared love for good food. His heartwarming presence has transformed a simple dining experience into a cherished tradition, and his dedication to serving his customers is a reminder that hospitality extends beyond the plate. With Daout at the helm, Sidewalk Bistro will undoubtedly continue to be a beloved cornerstone of Piermont’s vibrant community for years to come.
You too can experience Sidewalk Bistro in a unique way by bidding on the 5-course dinner with wine pairings. This will not only be a gourmet gastronomical experience, but will benefit the Piermont Library and support our programming, building maintenance and outreach efforts.