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John Besh’s Restaurant Group Taps West Bank Thai Food for Next Project

BGR Hospitality is “partnering” with Gretna’s Banana Blossom for a new Uptown restaurant

Banana Blossom’s roti and BB curry noodle with shrimp
Banana Blossom/Official

Banana Blossom Thai Cafe, a family-run gem that’s been serving contemporary Thai food on the West Bank for a decade, is partnering with BRG Hospitality for a new Uptown restaurant, reports Ian McNulty. The as-yet unnamed establishment will take over the space formerly home to Warbucks, a BRG (formerly Besh Restaurant Group) project that closed last summer after just eight months.

Owner Jimmy Cho opened Banana Blossom in a Gretna strip mall in 2009, relocating to its current, bigger home two years ago. On Wednesday, Banana Blossom’s Facebook page showed a photo of Cho and BRG founding owner John Besh at the West Bank restaurant with a caption reading, “our new regular customer.”

Our new regular customer

Posted by Banana Blossom on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cho told McNulty that while the restaurant will focus on Thai cooking it will be different from Banana Blossom — “more of what you’d have if you came to my mother’s house.” BRG chief executive officer Shannon White told McNulty that further details will be announced “after Mardi Gras.”

Besh’s restaurant group was renamed BRG Hospitality two years ago after dozens of reports of sexual misconduct within the company and a very public split from Saba chef Alon Shaya. Besh stepped down as CEO amid the scandal, but as of November 2018 remained an owner in the group that operates seven restaurants in New Orleans.

The first restaurant to open under the rebranded company’s portfolio was Warbucks, a ‘skate-inspired’, modern comfort food spot led by chef Todd Pulsinelli. Since its closure in July, BRG has opened a second location of Pizza Domenica in Mid City.

The announcement of the forthcoming restaurant comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that one of the city’s favorite pop-ups, Budsi’s Authentic Thai, is opening a restaurant this spring. It also follows this month’s opening of Long Chim, the first restaurant for the former pop-up serving Thai cuisine. The new BRG restaurant will open less than a mile down the road from Long Chim, at 3218 Magazine Street.

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