2000: Not A New Era In New Orleans Dining
The Years In Dining

2000: Not A New Era In New Orleans Dining

The portents attributed to the magical year 2000 did not show up much in the New Orleans restaurant business. Things were reasonably good for both restaurateurs and diners. But not outlandishly so. No equivalents of NASDAQ or the presidential election developed. No revolutions began. That was fine with me. We had such an unrelenting flow of innovation in the late 1990s that there was a real need to distill it all down. Pressure to bring back the best old dishes lost along the way softened up menus all over town….

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The Twentieth Century In Dining
The Years In Dining

The Twentieth Century In Dining

The Twentieth Century In Dining It’s fortunate that there’s no millennial aspect to the restaurant business, or else you’d have to slog through more history than you would be interested in. But dining out was in full flower in New Orleans as the 1900s opened. Many of the restaurants that were there then are still around now. And some of the ones that aren’t are still remembered by enough people to give a dining history of the century some meaning. The last time the double zeros came up, the restaurants…

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1999 Was Solid Gold For Restauranting
The Years In Dining

1999 Was Solid Gold For Restauranting

Can’t pass up a chance to sum things up, so here’s the annual distillation of what went down in the restaurant business this year. First of all, it has been a very good year indeed for restaurateurs. Anybody running an eatery who did not see a distinct improvement in volume needs to take a look at what he’s doing wrong, because the diners are going out and spending money. They’re also moving upscale. In many cases, the restaurants are moving with them. Indeed, whole categories of restaurants seem to be…

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New Restaurants Rise, And So Do Prices In 1998
The Years In Dining

New Restaurants Rise, And So Do Prices In 1998

Whether or not you became wealthier this year, the restaurant business thought you did. The two most expensively-built restaurants in the history of our town opened, and the trend is very much in the direction of bigger budgets for dining out. The Sixties egalitarian in me notes that the growing gap between the rich and the poor in our country is reflected in our restaurants. The top-end restaurants are swinging up to price levels that make them unaffordable even for special events for a larger portion of the population. We…

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1997: Year of Multiplication and Division
The Years In Dining

1997: Year of Multiplication and Division

The news in the New Orleans area restaurant business this year seemed to consistently be about successful restaurateurs opening new locations, or entirely new concepts. A few of these involved large national or regional chains which–although they dominate the restaurant scene in most American cities, have made fewer inroads here. What was strange is that most of the new restaurants were opened by local guys who, although they have excellent credentials with the local dining public, seemed to try to beat the chains at their own game. And not always…

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Dining In 1996: Flashes And Pans
The Years In Dining

Dining In 1996: Flashes And Pans

The year in dining started out with a bloated, big-time restaurant opening. The Fashion Cafe, whose glamor-model proprietors had a big success in New York, opened its second location with a party that competed with Mardi Gras. A few locals went, and. . . well, have you heard a word about the place lately? Fortunately, 1996 improved consistently after that for everyone interested in the business of dining out in New Orleans. Most restaurateurs have enjoyed improvements in volume, profitability, and creativity. That good news was both shared in and…

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1995: Three Stars
The Years In Dining

1995: Three Stars

This was a pretty good year for New Orleans restaurants, at least in business terms. And that was a pleasant surprise. As the year opened, the competition from the casinos loomed large in the nightmares of restaurateurs. But except for a handful of restaurants in places like the West Bank and the Gulf Coast, for the most part that bad dream just vanished. The other problem many restaurateurs worried about was the terrible projections for convention and other visitor business during the summer months. There was no doubt that July…

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The Class Of 1994 In New Orleans Restaurants
The Years In Dining

The Class Of 1994 In New Orleans Restaurants

The year just past saw a good many restaurant openings, but with one exception there were no blockbusters. It wasn’t like 1990, for example, when Emeril’s, Bayona, and the Pelican Club all opened. The major news consisted of the move of the Windsor Court’s chef to his own place, Al Copeland’s kicking off a new concept, and the House of Blues’ opening. All three were received by thronging crowds, but only the first–if even that one–will make any big impact on the local cuisine. Here is my list of the…

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