by Ian McNulty
The latest news from Tujague’s Restaurant should be a big relief for people who have worried over the fate of the venerable French Quarter restaurant these past two months.
“We’ve signed a new lease on the building, and I’m happy to announce Tujague’s will be here for many more years,” said Mark Latter, operator of Tujague’s, in a statement released today.
Latter’s father Steven Latter, the restaurant’s long-time owner, died in February and by March rumors were swirling that the restaurant’s building would be sold and converted to a fried chicken joint and T-shirt shop. Stanford Latter, brother to the late Steven and uncle of Mark, owns the historic building. The announcement today credits the wave of community concern with turning the tide on plans for the restaurant’s future.
“The outpouring of emotional support and encouragement was tremendous,” Mark Latter said in his statement. “Without it, this would not have happened.”
Latter said he purchased the restaurant from other family members, giving him full ownership of Tujague’s and he announced that some changes are in the works. These include some cosmetic updates around the restaurant, extended hours at the bar, a daily lunch service and, perhaps most notably, the addition of an à la carte menu beside the restaurant’s traditional table d'hôte menu. Latter announced he intends to hire a chef to oversee menu changes and will also collaborate with Poppy Tooker, the New Orleans food advocate and radio host, to produce the first ever Tujague’s cookbook.
Tujague’s ranks as the city’s second-oldest restaurant, behind Antoine’s. It was opened in 1856 by a Frenchman named Guillaume Tujague and originally served as a breakfast and lunch spot for people working the nearby docks and French Market.
Tujague’s currently serves dinner daily and lunch Friday through Sunday, while with newly-extended hours its bar is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. By the end of August, the restaurant plans to add daily lunch service.
823 Decatur St., (504) 525-8676