Where it all began...
Working his way on a transatlantic cruise liner, Sirio Maccioni dazzled New York with his charm and acumen for hospitality. Working at the famed Colony Club as a maitre d’hotel in the late 1960s, Sirio developed his first taste for the New York restaurant business. Then in 1974, Sirio opened what was destined to become a New York landmark – Le Cirque, which literally translates as “the circus” in French, at the Mayfair Hotel. In 1997, Le Cirque outgrew its original location and relocated to a larger space in the New York Palace Hotel under the name Le Cirque 2000. By 2004, Le Cirque was an established New York City landmark and decided to move to the prestigious Bloomberg Building on East 58th Street and finally opened its doors in May of 2006.
Although over the years, monkeys, circus balls and tent shades have become symbolic representations of the restaurant, but Le Cirque’s most recognizable feature is Sirio Maccioni himself. Staying very much a family-owned business, all three of Sirio’s sons-- Mario, Marco and Mauro-- followed in their father’s footsteps and can be seen working at Le Cirque’s multiple locations and sister restaurants. Sirio’s wife, Egidiana, can often be found overseeing the kitchen at our Tuscan inspired restaurant, Osteria del Circo.
While restaurant has as many stars to their credibility as celebrity clientele, Le Cirque and Sirio Maccioni have helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs – Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Terrance Brennan, Alain Sailhac, Rick Moonen, Jacques Torres, Sottha Khun, Sylvain Portay, Christophe Bellanca, Michael Lomonaco, Alain Allegretti, Pierre Schaedelin, Bill Telepan, Alex Stratta and Geoffrey Zakarian to name a few.
Executive Chef Raphael Francois
On January of 2014, Le Cirque’s current chef, Raphael Francois, joined this impressive team of culinary legends.
Born and raised in Belgium and France, Francois completed his education with a focus on Hotel Management and Culinary Arts and immediately went on to receive his Culinary Certificate, training with distinguished chefs such as Claude Lavallee, Michel Theurel, Yves Mattagne, Dominique Bouche and Philippe Legendre.
Francois began his professional career in the late 1990’s working alongside Claude Lavallee at Le Giverny in Tournai. From there, he worked in the notable kitchens of the two starred Michelin restaurant Chateau du Mylord in Elezelles, Le Sea Grill in Brussels with Yves Mattagne and the renowned Maison du Boeuf, formerly within the Hilton Bruxelles.
Eager to expand his culinary horizons, Francois set his sights on France and held positions in reputable establishments such as Four Seasons George V and Hôtel de Crillon. Francois went on to collaborate with influential mentors Eric Jan and Jacques Thorel at Chateau de Curzay and Chalet d’Adrien, overseeing the kitchens within the two hotel properties in the French countryside.
Returning to Paris in early 2006, Raphael worked closely with Hélène Darroze as head chef in her two star Michelin restaurant, Restaurant Hélène Darroze, and several of her city-based projects, including Salon, Salle a Manger, Toustem. After several successful years alongside Darroze in Paris, Francois tried his hand within the London food world, taking the executive chef position at the Connaught Hotel and the fine dining restaurant Hélène Darroze at the Connaught which was awarded with two Michelin stars in 2011.
Now, Francois is excited to be cooking in the U.S culinary capital, New York City. Arriving in New York City in 2014, he has joined Le Cirque where he will travel the path of so many great chefs before him. Working closely with the Maccioni family he will look to embrace classic Le Cirque dishes, while simultaneously making his own mark on this legendary New York restaurant.
Where food, art and fashion converge
For over 40 years, Le Cirque has offered an unparalleled dining experience earning its place on New York’s gastronomical landscape. Famed restaurateur Sirio Maccioni and family welcome you to Le Cirque’s latest location on East 58th Street in the trendy Bloomberg building. Here guests can enjoy a modern, circus themed dining room, where the food is just as exciting to the palate as it is a feast to the eyes.
Le Cirque also offers a more casual café featuring a seasonal prix fixe menu and outstanding wines offered by the glass.
The 16,000 square-foot restaurant, designed by Adam Tihany and architect Costas Kondylis, features a main dining room with a giant, abstract “big top” light shade, a separate bar area available for special events (Egi), and a private event mezzanine (Stella) suspended above the bar. The all glass bar is a force within itself, serving as a commanding architectural element anchoring the 65 seat bar-wine lounge and balancing the custom designed 27-foot kaleidoscope wine tower.