A member of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group is leaving the company and striking out on his own in order to revive a beloved New Orleans coffee brand, Congregation Coffee Roasters, that shut down earlier this year. Patrick Brennan announced this week that he has acquired the company from founder Eliot Guthrie and plans to reopen both the Algiers Point coffee shop and the wholesale roastery sometime next month. Excitingly, Brennan also plans to expand Congregation with additional coffee shops in New Orleans and is adding pastries from the Ralph Brennan Bakery to the coffeehouse’s lineup.
Guthrie ceased operations at Congregation in May 2023 after eight years and national acclaim, saying he had been wanting to move on “for some time.” Brennan, according to a press release, saw it as an opportunity to exit the family company after 10 years and focus on growing the beloved coffee brand.
Sale of longtime dive bar prompts backlash
A 30-year-old Mid-City dive bar, Parkview Tavern, will shut down in April 2024 after a popular neighboring business, Blue Oak BBQ, purchased the property and offered “non-viable” lease terms, according to the Tavern’s managing partner Kathy Anderson. The complicated saga is outlined in an episode of a local podcast about neighborhood bars, Obligations at the Lounge, in which Anderson says that after being led to believe she and her partner were buying the address at 910 N. Carrollton Avenue, it was instead sold to the owners of Blue Oak BBQ. Anderson claims that the lease terms subsequently offered by Blue Oak’s owners would have increased their base rent by 250 percent and included paying insurance and property tax for the building, which Anderson calls a “no thank you” offer. The sale, lease terms, and Blue Oak’s rumored plans for the space have prompted a great deal of discussion on social media, as well as hope that Parkview might be able to relocate. For its part, Blue Oak BBQ tells the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate that it is “disappointed” that Parkview Tavern chose not to renew its lease and that it is “dedicated to a similar vision upon their departure.”
San Francisco muffuletta sensation visits NOLA
A New Orleans native who has won national acclaim for his muffuletta pop-up-turned-restaurant in San Francisco is returning to his hometown next week for an event at Turkey and the Wolf. On Friday, November 3, Peterson Harter will bring his West Coast sensation, Sandy’s Muffulettas, to the sandwich shop. Harter, whose mother Lee Barnes was a major local culinary figure in the ’70s and ’80s, is known for his less-than-traditional muffulettas: A meat version with slightly spicy olive salad, Duke’s mayonnaise, and heated on a panini press, and a vegetarian option with roasted mushrooms and scallions. Both will be available for purchase from 6 p.m. until sold out at Turkey and the Wolf next Friday.
17-course omakase pops up at downtown hotel
An exciting omakase pop-up is taking over weekends at the International House Hotel beginning Thursday, November 2. Called KENJI Omakase, the pop-up is from acclaimed chef Matthew Nguyen and for its first weekend (Thursday through Saturday), will serve a 15-course menu created in collaboration with Patrick Bouaphanh from Chicago’s Jinsei Motto for $130. From there on into the New Year, KENJI will offer a 17-course menu for $150, Thursday through Saturday nights. Reservations are available via OpenTable.
Gautreau’s sets reopening date with new chef
Gautreau’s is reopening on Tuesday, November 7 after a month-long closure prompted by the restaurant changing hands. The 40-year-old Uptown fine-dining restaurant, now owned by Bill Kearney and Jay Adams, will be led by a new chef, Rob Mistry, following the departure of executive chef Nick Fry. Mistry comes from Commander’s Palace most recently, where he worked as sous for four years following stints at several locations of Husk Restaurant and Alinea in Chicago.