The longtime chef and founder of Frenchmen Street restaurant Adolfo’s, Adolfo Perez Palavicini, has died at 63, reports the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate. Palavicini, a New Orleans heavyweight of Creole-Italian cuisine for 25 years, died of a heart attack in Perdido Beach, Alabama, on Friday, August 12.
Palavicini was born in Spain and moved to New Orleans in the 1980s, opening Adolfo’s in 1997 after cooking at Alberto’s, the restaurant located at 611 Frenchmen Street prior to Adolfo’s. At the top of the list of New Orleans’s Creole-Italian restaurants for many, Adolfo’s is known for its cramped upstairs space and lively atmosphere, huge portions with rich seafood sauces (usually including or topped with cheese), and house specialties like crabmeat and corn cannelloni.
Palavicini suffered a stroke in January 2022, resulting in the family-run restaurant to close temporarily. Following his stroke, the plan was for Palavicini to retire and he and his wife, Kim Perez, to exit the business, reports NOLA.com, but only one of those plans went forward. Palavicini did retire, but Perez and the couple’s three children decided to keep the restaurant open and will continue to do so following Palavacini’s death.
Adolfo’s is hosting a public celebration of his life at the restaurant on Thursday, August 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.