Lawrence de Villiers never planned to be a lifelong restaurateur, but he also didn't expect to sell his French restaurant anytime soon.
Until he did.
De Villiers announced Friday afternoon on Facebook that he and his wife, Renee, have sold The Normandy, the French bistro at 2785 S. 17th St. The new owners will take it over in December.
De Villiers said he’ll announce new ownership at a later date, adding the new owners plan to keep the name and the French cuisine.
As for DeVilliers, he said he plans to finish a book he’s been writing, pursue other business opportunities and be a dad. He and Renee have three daughters ages 9, 5 and 3.
"This just sort of happened," he said prior to opening the restaurant Friday night. “I've always said I'm building toward the next thing. I'm more of an entrepreneur. I thrive in new challenges."
A French immigrant, de Villiers entered food service in Lincoln seven years ago baking and selling pastries at farmers markets. He and his wife opened The Normandy in The Railyard’s Public Market in 2013 and moved it to its current location in February 2014.
Since then, the restaurant, with its French comfort food and quaint atmosphere, has carved out a niche in Lincoln’s fine dining scene.
“This really is my American dream, starting at farmers market with a couple of hundred dollars and building my way up,” he said. “It’s all because of Lincolnites.”