A Visit With Al Fresco

Written by Mary Leigh Fitzmorris May 07, 2020 11:00 in Anxiously Awaited

Full disclosure: The Marys are rather infamous for expecting waiters to serve them in the rain (not real rain - occasional smattering drizzle) and cold (not bitter cold.)This love affair with Al Fresco* is long-standing. Admittedly, this is not California where it is mostly bugless and year-round temps of the perfect 70. But we manage.

In these strange times, Al Fresco has risen to (in our opinion) its rightful place of prominence. The lockdown allows for pick-up and outdoor seating, as of last Friday. People like Tom who generally abhor Al Fresco are forced to tolerate, in the interest of dining out. And in this case we do mean out.

Below is a list of some places that are not obvious for Al Fresco, but they are now!

Giorlando’s. Metairie.

DiCristina’s. Covington.

OxLot 9. Covington.

MeMe’s. Chalmette.

Ristorante Fillipo. Metairie.

Bienvenue. Harahan.

Charlie’s Seafood. Harahan.

YaYa’s Comfort Food. Harahan.

Parran’s Poboys. Kenner.

Andrea’s. Metairie.

Bear’s at Gennaro’s. Metairie.

Fat Boy’s Pizza. Metairie.

Moe’s BBQ. Metairie.

Vinny’s Caddyshack. Metairie.

Abita Brew Pub. Abita.

Meribo. Covington.

New Orleans Food and Spirits. Covington.

Vera’s Seafood on Hwy. 59. Abita.

Gattuso’s. Gretna.

Sun Ray Grill. Gretna.

*The term Al Fresco has Italian origins which refer to the painting of plaster while it is wet to absorb the color, as in Da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper. It is most widely used as the common English term for outdoor dining. The earliest reference in print denoting the use we commonly recognize was in 1753 from The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy by Mrs. Eliza Haywood. “It was good for her ladyship’s health to be thus alfresco.”

Disclaimer: If you have no doubt heard this story you have been thus forewarned.

In this publication we humanize this term and have done so since Tom first heard the story below that we still love to tell. Early in his career when he spoke to someone in the advertising business he heard the following story about a personal friend who owned a restaurant with a lovely courtyard. This man was fond of fat cigars, and was puffing on one when the following interchange occurred: An ad salesman was trying to convince his client to use advertising that celebrated his fabulous courtyard. He continually referenced the term alfresco dining. The client remained unconvinced, and finally growled from behind his cigar, “And who the #@%#* is Al Fresco?” We are still delighted with the story, and will always reference outdoor dining as a person named Al Fresco.