The second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans and third-oldest in the country, Tujague’s, reopens in its new French Quarter address today, December 28, more than a year after announcing the surprise move. The 164-year old restaurant is again serving its iconic boiled brisket and grasshopper cocktails at 429 Decatur Street, six blocks upriver from its former address.
Tujague’s current owner Mark Latter first announced the restaurant would relocate in October 2019, saying at the time the move would be “an act of preservation” for the fine-dining institution. It originally opened in 1856 at 811 Decatur Street, according to NOLA.com, and relocated to its former address at 823 Decatur Street in 1914. In 1982, Mark’s father Steven Latter bought Tujague’s along with his brother Stanford, eventually becoming the face of the old-school, bar-centric restaurant as well as the proprietor. He continued its traditions and maintained the items it was long known for, like the the frothy and minty Grasshopper after-dinner drink and the table d’hote menu — a daily menu with changing soups and entrees that always featured boiled brisket and shrimp remoulade (the menu was a butcher’s favorite thanks to the brisket).
Steven Latter died unexpectedly in 2012, plunging the restaurant’s future into uncertainty. Mark Latter bought the business from his uncle and eventually negotiated an eight-year lease for its building in order to keep Tujague’s in the family (the deal followed public outcry at the news that it could be sold to French Quarter real estate mogul Mike Motwani). Stanford Latter later sold the property to a Motwani family company, TKM Decatur, and when faced with a lease renewal last year, Mark said he was prompted to “to take a hard look at Tujague’s future” and decided to relocate. Tujague’s kept operating out of its former building, intermittently due to the pandemic, through June of this year.
Latter found Tujague’s new home at 429 Decatur Street, a large, three-story building most recently home to chain restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The muted red building with green shutters dates back to the mid 1800s, with a balcony also facing the river. Tujague’s famous stand-up bar and its signature neon sign aren’t part of the move, though Latter built a replica of the bar for the new location and hopes to hang an identical sign, pending permits. The new space does feature the restaurant’s famous photos and memorabilia, Steven Latter’s miniature liquor bottle collection, balcony seating, private dining rooms, and a courtyard.
Thomas Robey, who became Tujague’s executive chef in 2018 after a long career in the kitchen of Commander‘s Palace, continues to lead the kitchen. In addition to plans to expand dinner options, the restaurant is launching a new brunch menu on January 2 to be served on Saturdays and Sundays. Tujague’s opening hours this week are 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. New Year’s Day. On Saturday and Sunday, Tujague’s will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with dinner starting at 5 p.m.
Motwani says that Tujague’s former building at 823 Decatur Street remains available and that he hopes to lease it to another restaurant.
Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Noticed a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Send an email.
Looking for restaurant recs or a place to chat about favorite restaurants? Join Eater NOLA’s Facebook group.