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News for Restaurants in New Orleans
December 2012 Archive

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For those who thought they had experienced every possible form of ethnic cuisine in New Orleans, David Mantilla begs to differ. Mantilla, who has partnered in other local restaurants, hails from western Colombia, and has opened Mais Arepa, a corner restaurant in Central City that focuses on cusine from his native country. The "Arepa" in the restaurant's name refers to the Colombian version of a pupusa. The "Mais" in the name is the French word for corn. The interior is done in bright oranges and rustic natural woods, with tribal masks and artwork. Mais Arepa is in a part of town that is very light on restaurants. Will this place be the start of a new restaurant row? Stay tuned. Lunch Tues.-Sat., Dinner Tues.-Sun. Mais Arepa, 1200 Carondelet St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-523-6247.

News Bytes

Rib Room Brings Back a Creole Tradition
The Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans in the French Quarter is bringing back the locally beloved tradition of serving red beans and rice on Mondays. Chef Michael Gottlieb offers customers the option to "dress up" their plates by adding crispy Mississippi catfish ($19), fried pork chops ($23) or slow-roasted chicken ($22). Additionally, on Fridays, diners may enjoy $2 vodka martinis. Rib Room, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, 621 St. Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-529-7045.
Chef's Charity for Children Scheduled for February
If you fantasize about dozens of the great chefs of New Orleans all cooking under one roof, mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 20, 2013. That is the date when chefs from all over the metro area will gather at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for the annual Chefs Charity for Children Event, benefiting disabled children. This year's event will feature chefs Andrea Apuzzo (Andrea's), John Besh (Restaurant August, Luke, The Besh Steak House at Harrah's, etc.), Leah Chase (Dooky Chase), John Folse (Chef John Folse & Company, Restaurant R'evolution), Goffredo Fraccaro, Emeril Lagasse (Emeril's, Emeril's Delmonico and nine other properties), Gunter Preuss (Broussard's), Lazone Randolph (Brennan's), the Wong Brothers (Trey Yuen), David Woodward (Hilton N.O. Riverside) and Greg Reggio (Zea's). This year marks the 36th consecutive annual Chef's Charity fundraiser. Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased by calling 504-524-7285. Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-561-0500, 800-HILTONS.
'Tis the Season for Reveillon
Among the great holiday traditions in New Orleans, Reveillon is at the top of the local list. Reveillon, loosely translated to mean "awakening," is the basis for special holiday dinner menus at more than three dozen of the city's finest restaurants. The tradition holds that New Orleanians go to dinner after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Although these dinners historically happened in private homes, for the past several decades local restaurants have been hosting the late-night soirées. This year those restaurants include familiar names such as Arnaud's, Commander's Palace, Brennan's and Broussard's, but also newer entrants to the local restaurant scene, including Restaurant R'evolution, Criollo (newly opened in the Hotel Monteleone), Ste. Marie and Borgne. For a full listing of participating restuarants, including reveillon menus, visit

Chef Shuffle

New Orleans is about to lose one of its great chefs, Michael Farrell of Le Meritage Restaurant. Farrell is bound for the Cayman Islands, where he will take over the culinary department of the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa. Chef Mark Harris, who most recently held the position of executive sous chef at the hotel, will serve as interim executive chef. Le Meritage has rapidly ascended in the local fine dining market and much of its success can be directlya attributed to Farrell's high standards. Although the Maison Dupuy Hotel, where the restaurant is located, is sorry to see him go, Farrell says he will be back in New Orleans within a couple of years. The hotel is due to come under new ownership in 2013, and although there will still be a restaurant in the new plans, no one knows yet what the concept will be. Meanwhile, Bistreaux, the hotel's more casual restaurant, also under the direction of Farrell, will continue to operate as is. Le Meritage, Maison Dupuy Hotel, 1001 Rue Toulouse, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-525-8800.


Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for New Orleans to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Dominique's, R.I.P.

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. The building has been purchased by a new owner who also happens to be a partner in the mid-city eatery Serendipity. Although few details have been released about the bar and restaurant that will open in the space, it is known that Johnathan Lestingi, who once worked at Stella!, will helm the kitchen operation. Lestingi is tenatively planning a daily brunch that will carry over into mid-afternoon. Cafe Rani, 2917 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, no phone.

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