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May 2013 Archive

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French Quarter restaurateur Dickie Brennan opened his newest fine dining spot, Tableau, in late April. Tableau is in the same building as Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre, the oldest continually operating community theatre in the country. Brennan bought 60 percent of the building in 2011, when the theatre was in danger of closing due to financial headaches. The new restaurant, operated by Brennan and his sister Lauren Brennan, features 200 seats and an elegant interior courtyard in a 16,000-square-foot, three-story space overlooking Jackson Square. Customers will no doubt vie for seating on the restaurant’s wrap-around balcony that overlooks the Square and adjacent French Quarter streets. The Creole-inspired menu stays true to tradition, but also offers gluten-free items and lighter versions of some longtime favorites. Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun. Tableau, 6l16 St. Peter St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-934-3463.

News Bytes

Brennan's Restaurant Building Sold at Auction
The Brennan family war reached an unfortunate plateau on May 23, 2013, when the iconic pink Brennan's building was sold at auction for $6.85 million to a new mortgage holder. The family squabbles had escalated to a point just weeks ago that the New Orleans Police Department had to break up an alleged fight among relatives inside the restaurant. The new building owner, Leggo/4, has not revealed whether a lease will be negotiated with the family to allow the restaurant to continue operating. The family is currently involved in several legal battles, all based on a struggle for control of the business. Some of those conflicts have caused the business to experience extreme debt. The Brennans reportedly owed more than $4 million to Leggo/4  before the building was auctioned. Brennan’s has been in business since 1946. Brennan's Restaurant, 417 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-9711.
Brennan's Owners Battle It Out in Court
Just when it seemed all was finally quiet and calm at the venerable Brennan's, New Orleans police were called to the famous pink building in regards to an alleged fight between family members. It seems brothers Owen (“Pip”) and Ted Brennan are in a struggle for financial control and ownership of the restaurant. The battle allegedly started when Pip assembled the shareholders to vote Ted and his daughter Bridget out. Pip contends that when he sold his shares of the restaurant back to the business in 2010, he was never fully paid, and is still owed $3.8 million. For his part, Ted contends that Pip was not in a position to call a shareholders meeting since he was no longer an owner. All concerned parties will be in court to battle it out this month. The conflict comes right on the heels of reports that the owners are so deeply in debt that the building is scheduled to be put up for auction in late May. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Brunch daily. Brennan's, 417 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-9711.
"Top Chef" to Travel to New Orleans
The ever-popular Bravo TV is about to invade New Orleans, and it has nothing to do with real housewives. Bravo announced it will focus its eleventh season of "Top Chef" in New Orleans. This is not the first connection the show has had with New Orleans, since chef Emeril Lagasse served as a judge for two seasons. However, this is the first time an entire season will be set in the city. The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Louisiana Office of Tourism were reportedly instrumental in bringing the show to New Orleans. Keep your eye on this page as we will update you on details of the production as they become available. Top Chef New Orleans, 800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-528-9393.
New Orleans Food Truck Ordinance Runs into Roadblocks
A new ordinance that would have welcomed more food trucks to the city of New Orleans was passed in April by the City Council, but has now been vetoed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. This came as a surprise to a coalition of food truck owners, who had been working closely with the mayor’s office to ensure the new ordinance would be signed. The mayor’s office issued a statement saying it would be “unwise to sign this ordinance into law in its current form when it appears certain it will be invalidated by the court.” Some opposition forces contend that food trucks should have restrictions on where they can park, since in some cases they are too close to brick-and-mortar restaurants, thereby threatening the standalone restaurants’ potential business. Supporters of the food truck expansion plan contend that those in opposition are favoring one business model over another, and they point out that many restaurants are located directly next door to one another, and in some cases in the same building. The ordinance that was originally passed by the City Council would have provided 75 additional food truck permits, increase the amount of time food trucks can operate, require trucks to operate within 300 feet of a restroom, and allow trucks to operate 200 feet from brick-and-mortar restaurants. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly.
New Orleans Chefs Honored at James Beard Awards ceremony
It was a big night in New York City, when the James Beard Foundation awarded its Humanitarian of the Year Award to chef Emeril Lagasse. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has reportedly granted over $5.3 million to children’s education and culinary arts education programs since its inception in 2002. A special focus is on children from disadvantaged circumstances. Also at the ceremony, Commander’s Palace chef Tory McPhail was awarded Best Chef – South. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly. Emeril's, 800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-528-9393.
Camellia Grill Owner Faces Legal Battle with Former Owner
One of New Orleans’ most beloved restaurants, Camellia Grill, may soon have to operate under a new name.  The current owner, Hicham Khodr, who owns several other local restaurants, bought the original uptown building and full rights to keep the restaurant’s licensed trademark. But the original owner, Michael Schwartz, claims that Khodr did not live up to the original sales agreement because he changed the logo and used it in the newer French Quarter location. A district court judge ruled in favor of Schwartz, who is also seeking all of the restaurant’s profits earned since June 2011, although this has not been fully explained. Khodr has the right to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. If all goes in favor of Schwartz, Khodr may also have to change the architecture on the front of the building and the style of uniforms the empoyees wear. All were part of the licensing agreement that Schwartz claims Khodr has violated. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Camellia Grill, 626 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118, 504-309-2679.

Chef Shuffle

Some of the best chefs in New Orleans perfected their craft and found their footing in the kitchen of the legendary Commander's Palace. Count chef Carl Shaubhut among them, and now you can find him in Commander's sister restaurant, Cafe Adelaide in the Central Busienss District. Schaubhut replaces Chris Barbato, who left Adelaide to help his wife open the new Revista Bakery in New Orleans. Schaubhut's menu will reflect the building tradition at Cafe Adelaide to serve a Cajun/Creole menu with contemporary twists. Patrons will still find such staples as pan-roasted gulf shrimp, pepper-crusted rib-eye and garlic-crusted Gulf shrimp. But Schaubhut will likely work in some of his Caribbean-influenced cuisine, as well. Little known fact about Schaubhut: He started out in law school, but took a sharp career-change path when he decided his true passion was cooking. Cafe Adelaide, Loews New Orleans Hotel, 300 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-595-3300.


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