Popeyes founder Al Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro has closed its doors for good, reports NOLA.COM.
The St. Charles Avenue building that housed the restaurant, once an abandoned car dealership referenced in Ann Rice’s vampire Lestat novel Memnoch the Devil, is more famous for the legendary fight it caused between Rice and Copeland than it ever was for its food.
Al Copeland renovated the building in the late 90s he said he’d never read Rice’s book before that) into Straya — a garish, peach-colored restaurant flanked by golden panthers with rhinestone-studded collars. It sold sushi and California cuisine.
Rice was not pleased at all. She took out a full-page ad in the Times-Picayune saying that the building was a “monstrosity.” Reportedly, the two “gouged at each other through the daily newspaper, with thousands of dollars’ worth of full-page advertisements.” Copeland also sued her for libel.
By 2001, he had closed Straya and opened Cheesecake Bistro (sans golden panthers) in its place selling cheesecake and raspberry Chipotle chicken wings. A spokeperson for the restaurant group told NOLA.COM that it’s “reevaluating the market.”
In the meantime, the old New York Times story on the notorious fracas is well worth a read.
There are still two other locations of Cheesecake Bistro in Louisiana, in Bossier City and Baton Rouge. The Popeyes founder, who left school when he was 16, died in 2008 after battling cancer.
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