Good news, everyone! Despite rumors that Tujague's?the venerable Creole restaurant that has been hanging out in the French Quarter for 157 years&151;would perhaps fall into the hands of t-shirt mogul Mike Motwani and become a Decatur Street gift shop/fried chicken joint, Mark Latter, the son of the restaurant's late owner, announced yesterday that he's signed a long-term lease to keep Tujague's open.
According to the Times-Pic's Susan Langenhennig, Latter also plans to implement some long overdo updates to Tujague's, including minor cosmetic fixes like adding some new light fixtures and paint, as well as returning to the pre-Katrina daily lunch service, hiring a new chef, and, most significantly, adding an a la carte menu to go along with its ultra-traditional table d'hôte Creole menu.
Don't anyone freak out though. Latter assured the Tujague's faithful that the restaurant will stay true to its Creole traditions:
I think we need to add more variety. But it will still be classic New Orleans. We're not going fusion or contemporary at all.
That means that there will still be no chairs at the bar, and the brisket and garlicky chicken bonne femme are there to stay.
Tujague's, which was opened, explained momentary history professor Ian McNulty, in 1856 by a Frenchman named Guillaume (wait for it) Tujague, is the city's second-oldest restaurant after Antoine's. Its fate fell into question back in February when then-owner Steven Latter died suddenly (Latter had owned the restaurant, but his brother Stanford Latter owns the building, a prime piece of real estate nuzzled up close to the French Market).
A great deal of worrying ensued, with news of the historic restaurant's ignominious future as a t-shirt shop even attracting attention from the New York Times. Rumors swirled that John Besh would be riding in on a white stallion to buy the restaurant, but the city's collective psychic distress was heard?Tujague's would stay Tujague's, and the "grotesque example of commercial nitwit-itude" that Brett Anderson fretted about was averted.
· Tujague's signs longterm lease [NOLA.com]
· Historic Tujague's Will Remain Open in New Orleans [NY Times]
· All Tujague's Coverage [-ENOLA-]