Roast beef birthday bash



  • Tracey's roast beef po-boy

Tracey’s Bar & Restaurant opened for business one year ago this week, but the po-boy shop/watering hole actually has a much longer and convoluted history. On Tuesday, you can ponder its journey while eating one of its roast beef po-boys for roughly half price.

More on that special — and others — in a moment. First, the history.

The original Tracey’s opened in 1949 at the corner of Constance and Third streets. That intersection should ring a bell for anyone who’s been washing down roast beef po-boys with pints of Guinness in the Irish Channel over the years, since it’s long been the address for Parasol’s Bar & Restaurant. Tracey’s moved from Constance to a new address one block away at Magazine and Third streets after just a few years and Parasol’s set up shop in its place in 1952. While Tracey’s eventually closed in 1971 — its building would become a succession of businesses, including the Latin American Club and most recently the Irish Garden bar — Parasol’s endured and became a local institution, a neighborhood joint known far beyond its neighborhood for roast beef po-boys and its St. Patrick’s Day block party.

Jeff Carreras became the steward of this legacy in 1998, when he leased Parasol’s from its owners and began operating the business. But last year things changed rapidly. The Parasol’s owners wanted to sell the business and they found buyers in John and Thea Hogan.

That didn’t sit well with Carreras, who decided to open his own place. He found that place just one block away in the same building that the original Tracey’s had moved to all those years ago, at the corner of Magazine and Third. Since the Parasol’s business name stayed with the bar at Constance and Third, Carreras revived the old Tracey’s name for his new venture. He even had a vintage Tracey’s sign from back in the day stashed away in his backyard, which he now mounted at his new business. From Parasol’s, he took with him his staff, his recipes and everything from the bar’s framed memorabilia to its battered beer coolers, essentially making his new Tracey’s the old Parasol’s in exile.

Happily, the new Parasol’s is certainly no slouch, and the crew there on Constance has done a great job with the place (here’s my comparison of Parasol’s and Tracey’s from March).

But this week it’s Tracey’s time to shine as it celebrates the one-year anniversary of its move — or its resurrection, however you want to look at it. The bar has food and drink specials, bands and other events scheduled each day this week through Saturday. Tuesday’s special rolls back the price on its roast beef po-boy, usually $9, to $4.90 (a reference to Tracey’s first birthday in 1949).

Tracey’s Bar & Restaurant
2604 Magazine St., 899-2054

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