After months of “firsts” for New Orleans restaurant Commander’s Palace — offering takeout, supplying dishes to local grocers, and shipping nationwide — the fine-dining stalwart is debuting another: a takeout-only sister restaurant. Housed next door to Commander’s Palace on Washington Avenue, Le Petit Bleu opens this Friday, September 11.
Commander’s introduced the all-takeout venture on Tuesday while announcing plans to reopen for dine-in service, also on Friday. It will be the first time the Garden District institution opens its doors to customers since March 16, when Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards closed restaurant dining rooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commander’s Palace partner Lally Brennan said in a press release that the team has been “working on a concept to serve our neighbors and friends in a fun and convenient” way for over two years, and had been “eyeing” the former office next door for as long. Establishing Le Petit Bleu also allows Commander’s to maintain new lines of business introduced during the pandemic, she said, like takeout, shipping nationally via Goldbelly, and selling wine from their cellar direct to customers.
“Since COVID-19, we have loved serving our Commander’s To-Go, so as we reopen our dining rooms we want to continue that and make way for our dining guests,” Brennan said. Customers can call ahead or stop by the shop, painted with Commander’s familiar blue stripes, to order items like crabmeat ravigote, a muffaletta, and miso-roasted mushroom pasta.
Commander’s Palace is reopening for dine-in service four months after restaurants in the state were first allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity, and three months since New Orleans restaurants could increase occupancy to 50 percent. Last month, it was one of several area businesses to report to the Louisiana Workforce Commission that its hundreds of employee layoffs would exceed six months.
A lengthy announcement on the Commander’s Palace homepage outlines changes at the restaurant, from masks and temperature checks to moving its beloved weekend Jazz Brunch outside to the patio. Starting Friday, Le Petit Bleu will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with hot takeout beginning at 6 p.m. Commander’s Palace will be open for dine-in dinner service six days a week starting at 6:00 p.m., and for Jazz Brunch Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.
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