Family A-Fare

At 171-years-old, New Orleans’ renowned Antoine’s is America’s oldest restaurant continuously owned by the same family.

Now operated by the fifth generation, the restaurant’s CEO and president, Rick Blount, is the great, great grandson of Antoine Alciatore, who travelled to New Orleans from his native France to establish a restaurant serving the predominantly French-speaking residents of the era.

The grand, atmospheric restaurant on Rue St. Louis in the historic French Quarter remains an epicurean’s delight with its Creole cuisine featuring a superb array of signature dishes—such as Oysters Foch, Crawfish Cardinale and Baked Alaska—accompanied by unparalleled service.

Aficionados of fine dining can count on the next generation’s participation in the continued operation and preservation of this living legend. Blount’s daughter, Casie, has joined the staff handling a myriad of duties from event planning to bartending.

Although it can claim bragging rights as the oldest family restaurant, Antoine’s is only one of many dining dynasties in New Orleans.

Nearby on Rue Conti, owners Evelyn and Gunther Preuss operate another of the city’s marvelous old restaurants, Broussard’s, with the able help of son Marc, co-owner and general manager.

The property has been a restaurant for more than 90 years, but its three historic buildings surrounding the magnificent central courtyard date back to the mid-1800s.

After the Preuss’s acquired Broussard’s, the family set about to restore the property’s rich heritage and splendor. Under Evelyn’s direction—employing her exquisite taste and sense of design—the site regained its Old World elegance and distinctive Creole style.

In the kitchen, acclaimed Executive Chef Gunther blended his European-trained culinary expertise with classic Louisiana preparations to develop a most exciting and intriguing menu. Every dish that comes out of Broussard’s kitchen testifies that Preuss’s mission of evolving Creole haute cuisine is succeeding.

Only blocks away, across Decatur Street from the French Market and New Orleans’ riverfront, Tujague’s, the city’s second oldest eatery, is going strong at 155 years old.

Founded in 1856 by Guillaume and Marie Tujague, who set sail for America from their native Bordeaux, the restaurant has a long and storied past and retains the aura of its bygone days.

Bought by businessman Steven Latter almost 30 years, this new owner meticulously researched Tujague’s history to lovingly restore the iconic restaurant to its former glory. Unpretentious yet rooted in Creole culinary traditions, the restaurant still serves the same delectable dishes it did in its modest beginnings.

Latter is now joined in the business by his manager son, Mark, his daughter, Shayne, and Mark’s wife, Candace. Daughter and daughter-in-law wait tables or sling drinks to keep the happy customers bellying up to the majestic circa 1766 bar backed by an ornately carved wood-frame mirror which was shipped to Tujague’s from a Paris bistro in 1856.

In addition, the Latters employ an extended family of servers at the restaurant. Waiter Louis Salazo has been at Tujague’s for more than 25 years. His three sons worked there part-time, and his two nephews, Hugo Cabrerra and Sergio Cabrerra, have been there more than 20 years each. Now Hugo’s daughter waits tables part-time.  

Yet another family-owned French Quarter eatery, Deanie’s Seafood, opened its doors 50 years ago as a seafood market in Bucktown, a charming fishing village close to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans’ West End.

Frank and Barbara Chifici purchased Deanie’s market and seafood restaurant in 1982. When Frank passed away three years later, Barbara took over the business with gusto and has been a hands-on owner and manager ever since.

A consistent annual award-winner for New Orleans’ Best Fried and Boiled Seafood, the Chifici-led concept for Deanie’s, has always been “great food, big portions, moderate prices.”

Barbara’s seven children practically grew up in the restaurant. Her five sons and two daughters, most now with families of their own, all work in the popular restaurants, some full-time. Three of her sons who have other careers still find time to work at the restaurants on their off hours.

Barbara’s son Darren is general manager at the Deanie’s near the lake, and Keith fills the same role at the French Quarter location, which opened ten years ago. Daughters Chandra and Candace both work in various capacities at the lakeside location. With 11 grandchildren, some already helping out in the family enterprise, Deanie’s tradition of serving fantastic, fresh New Orleans seafood is sure to continue for, well, generations.

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15 Feb 2014

By TRAVELHOST Contributing Writer