“I’ve been talking to Gaston every week since 1978,” Spilfogel said. “He was fantastic, a significant icon and spirit of our community.”
Mr. Georis’ connection to the broader community was made clear when in 2019 Mr. Georis and La Bicyclette was named the Business of the Year by the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, which this week posted a statement on its Facebook page.
“Our hearts are heavy but full today as we honor the amazing life of Gaston Georis. On behalf of the Carmel Chamber, our board of directors, our community and the many visitors from around the world whose lives have been touched by this incredibly wonderful gentleman, we are sending much love to the Georis family.”
Tony Salameh, the owner of Anton & Michel Restaurant in Carmel, counted Mr. Georis as a friend for the past 40 years. “He was a very soft-spoken, gentle person,” Salameh said. “He cooperated with all the restaurateurs and was very obliging if we needed anything. He was a success story from the beginning.”
That beginning was in 1974 when Mr. Georis and his brother opened La Boheme Restaurant at Dolores and Seventh Street in Carmel, which sat on the location where La Bicyclette sits today. The food was modeled after the family meals Mr. Georis and Walter grew up on as children in Belgium.
A few years ago the brothers split, with Mr. Georis keeping La Bicyclette while Walter Georis took full control over Casanova Restaurant, also in Carmel.
For the past 20 years, Mr. Georis and La Bicyclette have also been teaching children about healthy food choices through cooking demonstrations and cooking classes at local schools’ organic gardens.