The 24th President of France, Francois Hollande, is currently in New York for United Nations Week. On Tuesday night, he and his entourage chose Brooklyn’s world –famous River Café as the spot to have dinner. He was immensely pleased with the cuisine and service, lingering for more than two hours. Then he departed the main dining room, making a few friendly greetings to fellow diners. As he passed the huge floral display that is a trademark of River Café entrance lobby, he expressed delight and admiration for such beauty and flair, while a small army of security and entourage ushered him outside to waiting vehicles.
For Michael O’Keeffe, River Café founder and owner, visits by heads of state and celebrities are frequent. Perhaps unknown to President Hollande was that the River Café pianist who played all evening had just returned from Brazil, where one of his recordings had won the equivalent of a Grammy. A frequent player at Lincoln Center, Dom Salvador has been one of the key players at River Café since it opened in the late 1970s.