Chez Lenard’s Sidewalk Cafe and Catering began in 1978 on the whims of a man named Lenard Des Lescinskis. Lenard had been working on Madison Avenue in the perfume industry when he retired and decided to try his hand at the hot dog business. This hot dog stand would have a uniquely french appeal. He began working on recipes and plans to start a gourmet hot dog stand on the sidewalks of Main Street in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
This hot dog stand would be different.
It would be clean. It would be unique looking and it would serve incredible food. The server would wear a chef’s hat and treat every customer like they were special house guests. It worked and Lenard served dogs when the weather suited him to all comers on Ridgefield’s Main Street.
After 2 1/2 years he sold to an ex-personnel director at Norwalk Hospital named Michael Soetbeer. Deeming himself unfit for any additional time in the world of a big business, Michael took on the business of hot dogs and for 16 years served dogs on Main Street. Michael took the business to another level. He was out on the street 7 days a week and in all weather and seasons. As consistent as time itself, Michael developed a loyal clientele due his consistency and love for what he did. In 1997, Michael decided to retire and sold the business to Kirsten and myself. Buying Chez Lenard was the best thing we have ever done.
“Buying Chez Lenard was the best thing we have ever done. Becoming the Hot Dog Man and becoming part of the fabric of Ridgefield brought our family more joy than we could have ever asked”
In the fall of 2006, my family and I decided it was time to move on and sell Chez Lenard. Since Chez Lenard is more than just a business in Ridgefield, finding an appropriate successor was very important. A Ridgefield native and four year veteran of working at Chez Lenard, Mike Principi was a natural choice. (He took over operations mid-march 2007)
Mike- Daily life on Main Street is great. The patrons of Chez Lenard are consistently happy, kind, and generous. Ridgefield’s people have shown me and my family nothing but support and love over the past nine yeasr and for this we are eternally grateful. It has been quite an adventure. Good Luck! -Chad Cohen & Family.”