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Iconic 163-Year-Old Tujague’s Forced to Move Down the Street

The business won’t renew its lease with French Quarter real estate mogul and t-shirt kingpin Mike Motwani

The iconic sign outside Tujague’s
Tujague’s/Official

The French Quarter’s 163-year old Tujague’s, second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans and third in the country, will relocate down the street next year. In a press release sent Friday, October 11, owner Mark Latter said the decision was made as the current location’s lease expiration nears.

The news comes six years after the death of Mark’s father and longtime Tujague’s proprietor Steven Latter, an event that plunged the restaurant’s future into uncertainty. Steven Latter’s brother Stanford owned the building then, and considered selling it to French Quarter real estate mogul Mike Motwani after his brother’s death. Mark was able to negotiate an eight-year lease with his uncle, in part due to public outcry (to the tune of 40,000 social media comments) at the possibility of losing the culinary institution.

Stanford Latter eventually sold the property to TKM Decatur, a company registered to Tina Motwani Narra, the daughter of Mike Motwani. The Motwani family has long been notorious among Quarter residents and historic preservationists for buying up French Quarter buildings, often housing beloved businesses like gay nightclub Oz, and opening T-shirt and souvenir shops in their place (the empire sells the I got bourbon faced on shit street), or in the case of his son, Willie’s Chicken Shacks.

In an interview with Nola.com, Mark Latter would not discuss the terms offered by TKM Decatur for a 2021 lease renewal, but said it “spurred him to take a hard look at Tujague’s future,” and determined that moving would be “an act of preservation.”

For his part, Mike Motwani told Nola.com that he is seeking a new tenant, “definitely wants to have another restaurant,” in the space, and is “not interested” in developing retail shops there.

Tujague’s is moving just a few blocks down upriver to 429 Decatur Street, a three-story building that most recently housed Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which closed last year. The press release says the new space will have courtyard and balcony seating and feature a replica of the original bar, famous photos and memorabilia, and Steven Latter’s miniature liquor bottle collection.

Mark Latter plans to open Tujague’s there by September 2020, and to keep the current location open until the time of the move.

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Tujague's

429 Decatur Street, , LA 70130 (504) 525-8676 Visit Website

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