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Thursday's Fort Lauderdale Serves French Classics And American Eats At New Las Olas Spot

A new French restaurant has popped up at the end of Las Olas Boulevard.

Thursday's Fort Lauderdale, a French bistro that also serves American staples, is only a few months old, but its history dates back to 1973. 

That's because father-daughter owners Bernard and Savannah Ragueneau modeled the new restaurant after their family-owned business back in Montreal, which opened that year.

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The original Montreal location started out as a 15-seat bistro and has grown to a three-story restaurant, bar and club for over 1,000 guests, now run by the Ragueneau sons. Much of the Las Olas restaurant's decor comes straight from there.

"Chandeliers are the first thing you see," Savannah Ragueneau said. "My dad purchased those sometime in the '60s or '70s for the hotel my dad used to own."

Bernard Ragueneau is originally from France but moved to Montreal (where Savannah was born) when he was 18. His family became interested in opening a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale through their frequent visits to the city.

"We were pretty much winterbirds," said Savannah​ Ragueneau, who attended college at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

Once the Ragueneaus became more acquainted with the Fort Lauderdale area and learned that Las Olas is a top dining destination, they found a location and opened for business in October. 

Steak tartare has become Thursday's most popular item, according to Savannah​ Ragueneau. Each plate is made-to-order by her father with the same family recipe they've been using since the '70s.

"Raw meat sounds really gross, but actually a lot of people do order that," she said. "My dad makes each one to order, and I think people like knowing it wasn't just pulled out of a fridge."

Escargot is another French specialty on the menu, but Savannah​ Ragueneau said she doesn't want the restaurant to be considered "just French."

"We like to think of ourselves as French-American," she said, adding that customers can also order cheeseburgers and hot dogs. In Montreal, on the other hand, the restaurant is more French contemporary.

Going along with the Montreal restaurant's lounge-y vibe, Thursday's on Las Olas will begin hosting a bottle service-style Sunday brunch starting in January. The by-reservation experience will feature a DJ, dancing and, of course, Veuve Cliquot champagne.

The restaurant also offers a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., when guests can take advantage of 2-for-1 specials on all drinks (mixing and matching allowed), and live entertainment on some weekends.

Here are some photos of the restaurant, courtesy of Thursday's:

French Classics

French Classics

French Classics

French Classics

Thursday's; 1521 E Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale