Legendary New Orleans restaurateur and chef Leah Chase—who turns 93 this Wednesday, January 6— is not happy about the limited hours (and menu) that her Treme icon Dooky Chase's Restaurant has operated under since Katrina, Ian McNulty reports. The famous eatery, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2016, currently serves lunch every Tuesday-Friday and dinner on Fridays only, a source of 'endless aggravation' for Chase, who has 'specific ideas' about what she'd like to see happen at the landmark:
She wants the take-out window back in business for walk-up sandwiches and snacks, and... the restaurant's bar developed as a social hub again. This would make the restaurant more accessible to more people, she said, and would hark back to the roots of the family business.
As for those roots, they go back to 1941, when the family of Dooky Chase Sr. opened a tavern, which Leah Chase eventually turned into a renowned destination restaurant with a prominent place in the Civil Rights movement (after marrying into the family). Expanding the take out window and bar program sound like reasonable ideas, as do adding some new menu items Chase has in mind, but will any of this happen any time soon? Likely not, as the family notes that the limited hours and menu "protect Chase from her own work ethic," since she's always in house during all business hours.
Meanwhile, Leah Chase's 93rd birthday dinner takes place this Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the restaurant. $75/person and yes, Chase "will be working the event as well."