News for Restaurants in New Orleans
January 2013 Archive
/ Openings / Closings / Chef Shuffle / News Bytes / Culinary
Events / Wine
dinners / Sign
up for our free, monthly newsletter / News Archive
One of the city's favorite and most widely respected restaurateurs, Dickie Brennan, is just about ready to unveil his latest creation, Tableau, located in Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré. Chef Ben Thibodeaux, who has served as chef de cuisine at one of Brennan's other establishments, Palace Café, will oversee the culinary operation of the 325-seat, three-story restaurant. The first floor will feature an open kitchen and a full bar, with another full bar and two dining rooms on the second floor, and a private function space on the third. The restaurant was conceived in 2011 when Le Petit Théâtre, the longest continually operating community theatre in the country, was in severe financial distress and in danger of closing. Brennan bought 60 percent of the building for a reported $3 million, creating a win-win situation that would save the theater and bring a new fine dining spot on the edge of Jackson Square. Brennan anticipates a February 2013 opening. Lunch & Dinner daily. Tableau, 616 St. Peter St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-934-3463.
For months New Orleanians drove past the aged two-story building on Rampart Street, watching the slow and steady progress in bringing the structure back to life. Finally, the Little Gem Saloon is open for business. The building, which has been vacant and decaying since the early 1970s, is now brightly lit and adding to the liveliness of a corner anchored on one side by the Walk-Ons sports bar. Little Gem Saloon will serve lunch and dinner daily, and feature a daily "jazz happy hour." Chef Robert Bruce will offer hearty menu items such as shrimp Creole and paneed pork chops, as well as charcuterie selections, cheese plates, sandwiches, soups and gumbos. The place will host a number of local jazz performers, and look for heavy action on Saints football days, because it is located just down the block from the Superdome. Lunch & Dinner daily. Little Gem Saloon, 445 S. Rampart St., New Orleans, , LA 70125, 504-267-4863.
When Cafe Rani closed on Magazine Street late last year, regulars were on the edge of their seat to see what would occupy the high profile space. Enter La Fin du Monde, a collaboration between Serendipity owner Justus Jagger, and former Stella! culinarian Jonathan Lestingi. Former Cafe Rani customers may not even recognize the place after Jagger put a whole new, contemporary spin on the decor, presenting white walls and dozens of antique clocks. The eclectic menu features everything from charcuterie plates and pickle plates, to full entrées including flank steak with veal sauce, scallops with butternut squash sauce and a number of smoked meat selections. Cafe Rani is sorely missed, but the new entrant looks promising. Lunch & Brunch, Mon.-Sat., Dinner Tues.-Sat. La Fin du Monde, 2917 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-895-2500.
The building that houses The Hotel Modern in New Orleans has been through many incarnations, even as the local YMCA a couple of decades ago. But the highly stylized hotel, which has tried a number of dining concepts, recently announced the impending opening of Tivoli and Lee, a new restaurant concept just off the main lobby. The unusual name derives from the hotel's location on Lee's Circle, which was previously named Tivoli Circle. Hotel management revealed the menu will combine small plates, salads and entrées, using regional and local products in an international cuisine. The restaurant will have 70 seats, all facing the oversize windows that overlook the outside streetcar circle. Chef Mike Nirenberg has not yet released the full menu, but the restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Look for a mid-February opening. Tivoli and Lee, Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-962-0900.
Good News for Brennan's Fans
New Orleanians, as well as international travelers were shocked to hear in late 2012 that Brennan's, one of the city's oldest and most beloved restaurants, would go on the auction block. It was reported that the company's building mortgage was sold to a new creditor, and the new entity wanted to collect quickly on a $4 million plus debt. The good news is that by year's end, the restaurant was taken off the auction block as Brennan's owners and the mortgage company negotiated a solution. Since the end of the year, neither the Brennan family nor the mortgage holder has commented publicly about the financial conflict, but the restaurant has been open for business as usual. Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch & Dinner daily. Brennan's, 417 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-9711.
Felix's Oyster Bar Re-opens
After widespread rumors last summer that the venerable Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar was in dire financial straits, many patrons were disappointed the see the restaurant shuttered by year's end. The good news is that Felix's is not only up and running, but it was only closed because it was under renovation. The restaurant has now re-opened under new ownership and new management, and those perfect oysters that locals and tourists crave are being shucked and served daily. Lunch & Dinner daily. Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 739 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-522-4440.
Check back soon for more news.
A lot of New Orleanians were sad to see one of their favorite lunch spots close permanently. Cafe Rani, a culinary anchor on Magazine Street for many years, closed suddenly and without warning in December. The restaurant was known widely for its oversized salads and relaxing courtyard. Cafe Rani, 2917 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in New Orleans