Gabrielle restaurant, the onetime Mid City institution where the cooking was fearless and the devotion to a certain duck dish was feverish, will reopen at 2441 Orleans Avenue late this summer, according to an opening report from Todd Price at NOLA.COM. The restaurant, which Greg and Mary Sonnier named after their eldest daughter, closed after Katrina 12 years ago.
Gabrielle will open just a block from Dooky Chase restaurant, Leah Chase’s venerable Creole restaurant and community outpost for local artwork and civil rights, and around the corner from the Whole Foods on Broad. The building was most recently a Chinese restaurant and grocery. The couple, who met years ago while both working at K-Paul’s, have painted the building the same colors as the original restaurant: blue and yellow.
The menu will include some classics from the original restaurant, like barbecue shrimp, the peppermint patty dessert, and a duck dish inspired partly by a family meal dish at K-Paul’s and by a classic French fry poboy with brown gravy.
The couple has been trying to find a home for the restaurant for several years now. A deal for a spot in Gretna fell through last summer. At one point, the couple planned to open in an event space on Henry Clay just off Magazine Street, but “that effort was rebuffed by fierce opposition from a number of politically connected neighbors,” according to the report. The neighbors won a petition filed in Civil District Court that threatened to take away the permits and licenses for the Henry Clay property and rezone it as residential. Greg Sonnier suspended plans for that spot, moving on to helm the kitchen at Kingfish.
The Sonniers are putting the finishing touches on Gabrielle’s new building, ending the search for a new home that lasted over a decade.