Florent closed its doors three years ago, but Gay Pride Week still doesn't feel the same without it. The week was always a big deal for Florent Morellet's iconic Meatpacking District diner, which served as a LGBT community center of sorts. The restaurant was a popular place to meet up during and after the Pride parade, and in 2006 Morellet himself even served as one of the parade's grand marshals. And Florent closed its doors, of course, on the last day of Pride Week 2008.
Although his restaurant was synonymous with Morellet himself, Darinka Chase was probably its second most recognizable face. As Florent's hostess for much of its 21-year existence, she greeted most of the people who came through its doors at all hours of the day and night. And as the wife of Café Katja co-owner Andrew Chase, she knows a thing or two about the alchemy behind a successful neighborhood restaurant. So to commemorate Florent's distinctive role in Gay Pride Week, we spoke with Chase about her memories of working at the restaurant, and Pride Weeks past.More »