by Ian McNulty
It’s year-in-review time, and for the food beat that means recounting the new restaurants that opened and those that closed, the familiar names that returned and the new trends that emerged.
It’s also — sadly, inevitably — when we take a moment to remember the people from the New Orleans restaurant world who passed away during the year.
Even when we didn’t know the individuals personally, learning of their deaths made an impact, bringing up memories and feelings tied to their food, to their dining rooms and the experiences shared there. Each was another reminder of how the restaurant business differs from many others and of how much our distinctive local restaurants rely on the personalities, family histories, traditions and passions of the people who run them.
Though this list is by no means complete (please add any in the “comments” section below), some restaurant passings this year included:
Natalie Brown, 45, co-owner of Kosher Cajun New York Deli and Grocery, who with her husband Joel built their Metairie deli into a hub for the Jewish community.
James Leeming, 50, the veteran local fine-dining chef who opened Coulis as his first venture about two and a half years earlier.
Angel Miranda, 57, founder of Lola’s, where many New Orleanians had their first experience with authentic Spanish cooking.
John Mosca, 86, of Westwego’s iconic Mosca’s, where he ensured that the idea of a family restaurant meant more than just a family-owned eatery but also a place custom-built for big family meals.
Antoinette Riccobono Uddo, 64, an owner of Riccobono’s Peppermill and part of the important local Riccobono restaurant family.
We offer our condolences to their families and share our gratitude for the contributions each made to our community.
Note that each of the restaurants mentioned above remains open.