News for Restaurants in New Orleans
April 2012 Archive
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Hotel Monteleone has the distinction of being one of the oldest continually operating hotels in New Orleans, but to its credit, it never becomes stale. Exhibit A is Criollo, the soon-to-open restaurant, lobby level, that will feature Creole (Criollo means Creole in Spanish) cooking, blended with African and European flavors. Monteleone has struggled for years to attract diners with its Hunt Room Grill, but the new place is destined to be far more high profile. The hotel's longtime executive chef Randy Buck hired chef Joe Maynard, known locally for his time at the Windsort Court Hotel, prior to Katrina. The hotel has not announced a definite opening date, but right now it looks like June. Criollo, 214 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-523-3341.
Before the 2005 hurricanes, chef Greg Sonnier and his wife, Mary Sonnier operated Gabrielle, one of the most popular restaurants in mid-city New Orleans. The restaurant was devastated by Katrina, and the Sonniers bought a building uptown called The Uptowner, which had been zoned for years as a restaurant, but operated as a catering facility. When the Sonniers tried to reopen Gabrielle in their new location, they were met with ongoing resistance from neighbors who worried about heavy traffic in the neighborhood, and from the New Orleans City Council members, who fought the zoning ruling. This month, the Sonniers finally received clearance to reopen Gabrielle in their uptown building, after years of hard-fought negotiating with the city. A firm opening date and hours of operation have not yet been announced, but we will keep you posted on Gabrielle's progress. Gabrielle, 438 Henry Clay Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125, 504-899-6500.
One of the most hotly anticipated new restaurant openings has been announced for June 4, 2012. Restaurant R'evolution, the much ballyhooed new dining experience co-created by Louisiana chef John Folse and Chicago chef Rick Tramonto, promises to be one of the biggest openings in recent New Orleans dining history. Construction issues and staffing are cited as reasons for the delay. Staffing is particularly interesting, since the chefs have reportedly committed themselves to hiring as many Katrina-displaced New Orleanians as possible. The goal is to bring people back to the city who have been unable to return home since the 2005 hurricanes. Folse and Tramonto anticipate about 80 percent of their staff will be local. Postings on Craigslist in Houston, New York, Atlanta and Chicago seek displaced New Orleanians who are eager to return. Restaurant R'evolution, Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-586-0300.
John Besh to Debut New PBS Cooking Show
If there is one New Orleans chef who uses every possible minute in the day, it is surely John Besh. Besh, who operates more than a half dozen restaurants in the New Orleans metro area, is set to produce a second cooking show for PBS. This one is based on his book, My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 2011). The planned 26-episode show will be filmed in the chef's home and begin airing in Spring, 2013. His other PBS series, "Chef John Besh's New Orleans," is viewed in 170 markets across the U.S. Meanwhile, Besh was recently honored by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for My Family Table in the IACP's cookbook category for children, youth and family. Restaurant August, 301 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-299-9777.
When chef Rene Bajeux suddenly left the Rib Room after a brief stint as executive chef, New Orleanians were anxious to hear his future plans. Word on the street was that he would open his own restaurant, but confirmation has finally come that Bajeux will take over the space currently occupied by LaCote Brasserie. The expansive dining room is being remodeled to suit Bajeux's plans, and a May opening is expected. Bajeaux, one of only 55 Master Chefs in America, operated the wildly popular Rene Bistrot prior to Hurricane Katrina, but it never reopened after the storm. Bajeux says the new restaurant will not be a repeat of the old Rene Bistrot. The menu will feature contemporary French cuisine with heavy influences from South Louisiana. Since it will serve as the hotel dining room for the Renaissance Arts Hotel, the restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Rene Bistrot, Renaissance Arts Hotel, 700 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-613-2350.
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