A Broadway staple in the 1930s and a Hollywood fixture through the 1950s, the French-born Odette moved to New Hope in the twilight of her career. She managed the former Playhouse Inn, next door to the Bucks County Playhouse, from 1955 to 1958, before settling in at Chez Odette (which later became Odette’s Restaurant) from 1961 to 1976. There, she fostered a cult-like following as the curator and main attraction of the most revered cabaret lounge outside of New York.
Beginning March 12, River House at Odette’s, the hotel and restaurant that opened at the site of the former Odette’s Restaurant, along a bank of the Delaware on the south end of New Hope, in September 2020, will present a museum-style exhibition titled “Odette Myrtil: Honoring a New Hope Legend.” The display, which will be on view through May 15, was developed with the help of the New Hope Historical Society.
“Since its inception, River House at Odette’s has set out to pay homage to the spirit of Odette Myrtil and her historic cabaret,” Ron Gorodesky, president and CEO of Refined Hospitality, River House’s parent company, said in a press release. “This first-of-its-kind exhibition celebrates the impact New Hope’s beloved icon has made on us all and commemorates our cherished memories from those illustrious evenings.”
From its inception, River House has seen itself as an extension of the Odette lineage. Historic elements from Chez Odette’s colorful past, including artwork, salvaged menus and books, and a chandelier, are thoughtfully incorporated into the contemporary architecture and design of the hotel.
The exhibit, which will be staged at the Perry Mansion, the historical society’s headquarters, will offer more of the same. “[T]he exhibition is designed to transport guests back to the boisterous evenings at Chez Odette,” the press release reads.
Featured will be a mix of historic items – rare photos and Chez Odette artifacts loaned by locals – and period décor meant to take you back to those decadent nights when Odette would saunter through a lively audience, holding court with a cocktail in hand.
The exhibit will be on view Saturdays and Sundays from 1 PM to 5 PM. Admission is free.
An invitation-only preview party will be held at the mansion March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day.
In conjunction with the exhibit, River House’s signature restaurant, Odette’s, will be offering a special “Ode to Odette” menu on weekends throughout March. Highlights include saucisson en croute and escargot-stuffed brook trout. On Mondays throughout the month, a separate special menu will be paired with screenings of Odette’s films.