Chef Chris Cody had a promising but too-brief run at Pellicano Ristorante, a fine-dining spot in Kenner that opened in 2008 and closed a year later. Now the chef has a new restaurant in the works for a historic property in the Lower Garden District.
Cody and an investor plan to open Dijon (1377 Annunciation St., phone n.a.) in a former firehouse in the next few months. He describes his culinary plans for Dijon as contemporary American/Louisiana and says it "will be similar to Pellicano but with more of a local twist." David Oser, who also worked at Pellicano, will be sous chef. One special feature of Dijon will be a chef's table complete with its own small kitchen so guests can watch and interact with the chef as their meals are prepared.
Cody most recently offered upscale bar food at the Roosevelt Hotel Bar (116 University Place, 566-9444), a watering hole next to (but unrelated to) the Roosevelt Hotel. He left that gig earlier this year as he searched for a new fine-dining project.
Dijon's future home has some history to it. The building dates to 1914 and was originally used by the New Orleans Fire Department. It sat empty from 1991 until 2003, when renovations began to turn the vintage space with its soaring, 30-foot ceilings into a tavern. It later became a California-inspired eatery called Fire! a Restaurant, though after Hurricane Katrina that business moved to Florida, where it is still in operation. Next, the old firehouse housed Big Al's Seafood, an offshoot of the Houma restaurant of the same name.
The building has a large hearth oven in the dining room, a remnant from its Fire! format, and Cody plans to use it to bake bread. Dijon will have a bar, a courtyard and off-street parking and it will serve Sunday brunch.