One of Emeril Lagasse’s longest-running restaurants, NOLA in the French Quarter, has closed permanently, the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reports. It’s the second longtime New Orleans spot the celebrity chef’s restaurant group has closed this year, following Emeril’s Delmonico in February 2022.
NOLA, first opened on St. Louis Street in 1992, has been closed since the arrival of the COVID pandemic and citywide dining restrictions, as was the case with Emeril’s Delmonico. A representative told Eater that the Emeril Group has plans to open more restaurants “in the pipeline” and will not be closing any additional restaurants — Lagasse still operates casual cafe Meril and fine-dining Emeril’s, his very first restaurant, both in the Warehouse District.
Meanwhile, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, the prolific New Orleans-area restaurant with a portfolio of restaurants serving traditional New Orleans cuisine like Cafe Maspero and Broussard’s, has leased the space at 534 St. Louis Street to further expand its burgeoning mini-chain, Boulevard American Bistro.
Lagasse’s restaurant journey in New Orleans began in the early 1980s, not with his own restaurant but in the kitchen at Commander’s Palace. He spent seven years there before opening his first and namesake restaurant, Emeril’s, in the Warehouse District in 1990, He opened NOLA next, at the same time his television career was taking off, out of a need for growth, Lagasse said at the time. Delmonico and the Fish House in Vegas followed.
Earlier this year, the Emeril Group announced it sold Delmonico, where Lagasse took over in 1997, and at the time teased NOLA’s potential reopening. Instead, 534 St. Louis Street will reopen as the fourth location of Boulevard American Bistro, also located in Metairie, Elmwood, and Covington, on a “swift timeline,” Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts tells the Advocate.