I was to report some news this morning from a local barman and friend, Keith LaBonte, owner of Four Lounge. I was to discuss the expansion of the State and Allen bar expanding, but instead of the happy news I am now to report that Keith has passed away.
Keith Thomas LaBonte was passionate about his work as the quirky bar owner who made such notorious concoctions as his cotton candy martini that was laced with champagne.
Keith’s passion was cooking and loved to mix drinks. Anything to please a crowd. He started working behind a bar in New York “around 21 or 22” and once mentioned that he worked for Tom Cruise’s sister at Santa Fe Café.
The gruff sounding LaBonte was the first to toss out obnoxious patrons at his bar, and took great pleasure in giving grief to Yankee fans, mentioning that there was a 20% up-charge to serve those wearing the jerseys or caps.
Keith enjoyed the mixology aspect of bartending, with a particular interest in the molecular aspect of mixing drinks often using powders, pearls, smoke and foam to beef up his cocktails. He was a showman at heart, and loved to play up to a crowd.
Most recently Keith helped open Pepper Smash in Plano with chef Vijay Sadhu, and added his element of bartending to the new restaurant.
Keith Labonte was a friend and will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, my brother.