French Quarter diner the Camellia Grill will reopen mid-December on Chartres Street.
French Quarter diners will be able to get chili cheese fries, roast beef po-boys dripping with gravy, giant omelets with hash browns and vanilla "freezes" when the Camellia Grill reopens this month on Chartres Street.
Owner and local restaurateur Hicham Khodr closed the French Quarter location earlier this fall for renovations but says the popular diner should be opened and operating under its original name by Dec. 13 or 14.
Khodr purchased the flagship Riverbend diner (626 S. Carrollton Ave.) popular with college kids and Uptown neighbors in 2006. The restaurant had been open since 1946 but closed for two years after Hurricane Katrina before then-owner Michael Schwartz sold the business to Khodr.
Khodr opened the Chartres Street location under the same name in 2010 but was forced to change the name to The Grill in 2013 following a court order that ruled Khodr had violated the terms of a licensing agreement with the previous owner. In July, a federal judge ruled that Khodr was the rightful owner of the name and wasn’t committing trademark infringement by using both the restaurant’s name and flowering camellia logo. No changes were made to the Riverbend landmark, which remains open.
Khodr is currently hiring new cooks and wait staff for the Chartres Street location and says he hopes to open by mid-December. He says the menu will be “100 percent” the same as the Riverbend institution and said renovations maintain the same look as the original, but with new furnishings and appliances.
“I feel great about it,” Khodr said of the opening. “I know people have been waiting for it to return to the French Quarter.”
The Camellia Grill (536 Chartres St.) will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.