by Ian McNulty
Frank and Marna Brigtsen, owners of the upscale contemporary Creole restaurant Brigtsen's, plan to reopen Charlie's Seafood, a casual restaurant in Harahan for more than half a century that has lately been shuttered.
The Brigtsens will lease the Jefferson Highway property beginning in June and plan to reopen Charlie's later that month. Frank Brigtsen (pictured) says it will be business as usual at his namesake Riverbend restaurant while they reopen Charlie's.
It's the first new restaurant venture for the Brigtsens since opening their Riverbend restaurant in 1988, and it's one with special significance for their family.
"I grew up out here in River Ridge," says Brigtsen. "Charlie's opened in 1951, my family moved out here in 1955 when I was one, so this might be the first restaurant I ever ate in, probably in a highchair."
While he says he wasn't actively seeking a second restaurant, driving past the idled Charlie's twice a day on his commute began pulling on his heartstrings.
"I think it makes sense for us not only for the nostalgic connection to it, but also because of my passion for Louisiana seafood. The New Orleans neighborhood restaurant is a very precious thing, and we want to resurrect what was a legend in this neighborhood," says Brigtsen.
The menu will feature fried and boiled seafood, po-boys and hot plates.