After only 15 months in business, the first fine dining restaurant for people who wanted to be less dressed than their salads is going out of business.
Twins Mike and Stéphane Saada had opened the doors, and closed the curtains, of O’naturel in 2017. Although the two are not themselves nudists, they thought there was a market waiting to be served. France has been known to be a safe haven for those wanting to leave clothes behind, with clothing-optional beaches, spas, and campsites, as described by Condé Nast Traveler.
On entry, patrons would doff their clothing, leaving it in a locker to don their napkins. And there were the rules: no cell phones or behavior that was exhibitionist or lewd.
Chair covers were replaced between patrons to satisfy health codes, which also included keeping waitstaff and cooks dressed.
O’naturel’s menu offered appetizers, main courses, and desserts. One of each ran 49 euros, or about $56. There were also vegan choices. No soup on the menu, perhaps because the chance of a hot spill would be off-putting.
The restaurant advertised the “pleasure of dining naked all year in the capital in the respect of naturist values.”
Putting people at ease was an important task, the owners told French wire service Agence France Press. “As soon as customers enter the dining room, we accompany them to their table and we reassure them that it’s not like the whole room is looking at them,” Stéphane Saada told AFP.
But that wasn’t enough to bring in sufficient business. The restaurant will close February 16, hopefully before the owners lose their shirts.