After more than four decades as the face of Creole food for a national audience, Emeril Lagasse is trying something new. He’s set to open a French restaurant, his first new restaurant in New Orleans since 2016, in partnership with Caesars New Orleans later this year.
Called Emeril’s Brasserie, it will be located in the landmark casino currently being transformed from Harrah’s New Orleans to Caesars New Orleans. The full-service restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, according to a press release, and will include a fast-casual cafe called the Petite Brasserie. It’s Lagasse’s first French-influenced restaurant, and he says he had “so much fun” creating a menu that drew on his early culinary training “to pay homage to some of my own mentors.” According to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, that menu will include dishes like steak au poivre, onion soup, tarte flambée, and seafood towers for lunch and dinner, and bananas Foster pain perdue and croque madame croissants for breakfast.
The 200-seat restaurant will be open to all ages, according to the press release, accessible from both the casino floor and a Canal Street entrance, and will be the only Caesars restaurant to offer outdoor dining.
As part of the rebranding of Harrah’s to Caesars, the casino has made a point to court big-name celebrity chefs and brands. A mini-food hall is home to three well-known names: Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burgers; Buddy Valastro’s PizzaCake; and a restaurant from chef Nina Compton called Nina’s Creole Cottage. Those three counter-service restaurants have all recently opened, while luxe international sushi brand Nobu is set to open its first New Orleans restaurant in the casino in 2024.
Lagasse’s culinary career began in New Orleans in 1982, when at just 23 years old he took over Commander’s Palace. The Massachusetts-born Lagasse opened his first restaurant, Emeril’s, in 1990, followed by NOLA in the French Quarter in 1993. He opened his first casino restaurant, Emeril’s Fish House, in the MGM Grand in Vegas in 1995, followed by his reopening Delmonico in New Orleans in 1998 and his second casino restaurant, Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian, also in Vegas.
2022 brought two major shakeups to Lagasse’s New Orleans restaurant empire. First, in February, Lagasse’s restaurant group announced that Emeril’s Delmonico on St. Charles Avenue would not reopen following a nearly two-year closure prompted by the pandemic. In November 2022, the group announced that one of Lagasse’s longest-running restaurants, NOLA, would also not reopen (that building has since been leased by Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts for a restaurant opening this year). Lagasse still operates fine-dining Warehouse District star Emeril’s, his very first restaurant, where his son E.J. Lagasse has taken the reins, and the more casual Meril, which opened in 2016.
Emeril’s Brasserie is expected to open in Caesars New Orleans in late 2023.