Stanley S. Lecureux, 76, an aircraft engine mechanic turned restaurateur and wine enthusiast, died Nov. 10 of cardiac arrest due to pneumonia at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He was an Alexandria resident.
Mr. Lecureux, who worked for United Airlines in 1964, got in the habit of dropping by a nearby bar in Alexandria for a burger and beer -- and conversation -- with the Parisian-born barmaid. The two hit upon the idea of buying a restaurant, so shortly before they married, they purchased a small establishment called the Auburn Bar and Grill, which was near the railroad yard. Its location was less than promising for any kind of eating establishment.
They kept the old bar sign, "Shirt and Shoes Required," started serving French specials twice a week and changed the name to Chez Andree, after Mr. Lecureux's wife, who was the chef. Thanks in part to a thumbs-up review by a restaurant critic, the lines soon were long, the bar was gone and the restaurant was thriving. After 41 years, it still is.
Mr. Lecureux was born in Corunna, Mich. He served in the Air Force from 1946 to 1948, and in 1955 received a diploma from the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. A member of the United Association of Machinists, he moved to Alexandria in 1956, where he worked as an aircraft engine mechanic, first for Capital Airlines and then United.
Chez Andree has been voted Best Neighborhood Restaurant several times and has won numerous cuisine awards from Washingtonian magazine and area newspapers. While tending bar over the years, Mr. Lecureux became a wine enthusiast and amassed a cellar of about 3,000 wines. He won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence numerous times during his three decades in the business.
In 1996, Mr. Lecureux turned over the restaurant to his children but continued to tend bar. He was a member of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the Potomac West Business Association. He also was a die-hard Redskins fan and attended four Super Bowls.
A daughter, Eileen Ficadenti, died in 1989.
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Andree Georgette Lecureux of Alexandria; five children, Laurence Matrat of Annapolis, Catherine Fudge of Alexandria, Harry Saffell of Fairfax City, Nicole Rooney of Florida and Steven Lecureux of Alexandria; a sister; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.