For people who have worried over the fate of the venerable French Quarter restaurant Tujague's, good news came last week: "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 Tujague's operator Mark Latter.
Latter's father Steven Latter, the restaurant's longtime owner, died in February. 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 credited the wave of community concern with turning the tide on plans for the restaurant's future.
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: cosmetic updates, extended hours at the bar, daily lunch service and the addition of an a la carte menu alongside the restaurant's traditional table d'hote menu. Latter intends to hire a chef and will collaborate with New Orleans food advocate, historian and radio host Poppy Tooker to produce the first-ever Tujague's cookbook.
Tujague's is the city's second-oldest restaurant (behind Antoine's). Guillaume Tujague, a Frenchman, opened it in 1856 to serve people working the Mississippi River docks and French Market. — IAN MCNULTY