a la carte - Winter 2022

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P HAssociation O T O B| Y a FlaRcarte A N|KWinter AY M AMI Louisiana Restaurant 2022


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Letter from the Chair Dear LRA Members, Happy New Year! After 20 years of membership, this year I have the ultimate industry volunteer responsibility – serving as your 2022 Chair of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. Through the years I’ve had the chance to serve our association and industry in many ways, (page 10); however, serving in this role means more to me than I can describe, particularly given the challenges over the course of the last two years. One thing I know for certain is that the leadership of the LRA was present for you and our industry each and every day during the pandemic. Along with LRA President and CEO Stan Harris, Executive Committee members Peter Sclafani, Keith Bond, Alan Guilbeau, Mark Latter and Michael Maenza, communicated regularly to chart the best course of Covid recovery for Louisiana’s restaurants. We continue to make the case that our industry is in need of another round of relief funding. There are several paths of discussion for a replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for those operators not funded and a parallel approach to expand funding for restaurants, music venues, and fitness operations. Just after the New Year, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard from being enforced, which was set to take effect on January 10. The 6-3 SCOTUS decision means businesses with 100 or more employees can breathe a sigh of relief for now. However, the Court supported upholding the COVID vaccine mandate for healthcare workers whose facilities receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. The Louisiana Legislature has called a Special Session in February to address redistricting as required by the 2020 Census. The LRA Advocacy Team is already preparing for the regular session which begins March 14 and is a “general session.” Therefore, the expectation is upwards of 3,000 filed bills compared to a fiscal session of around 1,000 bills filed. On March 29-30, the LRA Education Foundation will host its Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers ProStart Invitational in New Orleans. Joining our title sponsor Raising Cane’s, we welcome two new sponsors—Blue Runner as the Culinary Competition Sponsor and BRG Hospitality as the Management Competition Sponsor. TABASCO® has expanded their commitment as the National Travel Team sponsor. In addition, the LRAEF will host its Serving the Future – Celebrating Careers in Hospitality on March 29, an event to recognize the 2022 class of LRAEF Scholars. Thank you for your membership and support of the LRA and its programs which ensures we can continue to provide critical information, mandated training, and services to our restaurants and future generations of Louisiana restaurateurs. Sincerely,

Michael Boudreaux

Letters to the Editor Stan, Thank you for your latest message and industry update. Our industry has certainly been challenged these past two years. As you put it, we have tried our best to overcome “the unfathomable.” During these most difficult of times, we depend on strong committed leadership to manage through the uncertainty. We are blessed to have you and the LRA Team in support as we fight for survival. You have been a champion on the state and national level. Please know that your dedication and expertise are greatly appreciated. John Eastman Auto-Chlor Services, LLC

Submit Your Letter We want to hear from you! Do you have information, fresh insights, feedback, expert knowledge you’d like to share with our membership? We welcome your submissions on any topic. Email communications@lra.org for an opportunity to be featured in the next edition of a la carte magazine.

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022







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Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


14 18 Keeping the Peace

LRA members who met and fell in love in the restaurant industry open up about their relationships and how they keep the peace amidst the constant changing regulations of today’s foodservice climate.

27 Winter Training Sees Record Number of ProStart Educators

Our ProStart program offers hands-on culinary education for high school juniors and seniors, but it’s the educators who build them up for success. This year brought a larger turnout to the Winter Educator Training, more than seen in past years, and educators will relay their confidence to students for the upcoming ProStart Invitational.

28 Black History Month 2022

The late Chef Leah Chase is known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, offering a safe place to gather for Civil Rights Activists in the 1950s and 60s at she and her husband’s restaurant Dooky Chase. Today her legacy is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who each have a respective role inside the legendary restaurant. Leah’s daughter Stella Chase Reese reflects on wisdom from her mother this February, in honor of Black History Month.

Follow the LRA on social media for updates on the restaurant industry, advocacy issues, and news about YOU, our members!





Louisiana Restaurant Association

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022





Louisiana | January 2022

To assess the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association Research Group conducted a survey of 4,200 restaurant operators Jan. 6-18, 2022.

87% of restaurants experienced a decline in

Because of

customer demand for indoor on-premises dining in


because of the omicron variant.

76% now than it was before the pandemic.



96% of RRF recipients retained or hired back employees RRF grants SAVED over 10,000 jobs REPLENISHING RRF NOW

47% reduced hours of operation

42% closed additional days


WOULD SAVE BUSINESSES AND JOBS Of operators that applied and didn’t get funding:

59% unlikely that they will be able to

stay in business beyond the pandemic

98% could retain or hire back employees 6

The National Restaurant Association estimates that a full replenishment of the RRF will potentially save more than restaurant jobs currently at risk. Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


reduced seating capacity

8% pivoted to off-premises only

For more information & resources, visit restaurant.org

Omicron Variant Hit Restaurant Industry Hard; Replenishing the RRF Forecast to Save more than 20,000 Jobs New survey from National Restaurant Association shows 10,000 jobs saved with first round of RRF Funding New survey data released by the National Restaurant Association highlights the devastating impact the omicron variant has had so far, and the positive impact the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) had on the Louisiana industry. According to National Restaurant Association analysis, the first round of RRF funding saved more than 10,000 Louisiana restaurant jobs. In addition, the survey found: Nearly 60% of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants feel it’s unlikely that they will stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant. 98% of restaurant operators that applied for an RRF grant, but did not receive funding, said a future grant would enable them to retain or hire back employees. “This highlights how impactful RRF replenishment would be. The National Restaurant Association estimates indicate that full replenishment of the RRF will save an additional 20,000 Louisiana restaurant jobs,” said Stan Harris, President and CEO, Louisiana Restaurant Association. “The RRF was a critical lifeline to many, but far more remain on the sidelines, desperately looking for support amidst continued economic uncertainty. The decisions Congress could make in the coming weeks will be critical toward the future of the restaurants that are so proud to serve our communities.” The restaurant industry was hit hard by the latest surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Forced to adapt to deteriorating consumer confidence, restaurants

reduced hours/days of operation, cut seating capacity, and shutdown, pivoting to off-premises dining with the end result being lower sales volumes in 2021 than in 2019. According to the survey, we know: 87% of Louisiana restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor on-premises dining in because of the omicron variant. 65% of Louisiana operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago. 79% say their restaurant is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic. “The new data show that restaurant recovery is paralyzed and nowhere near complete. The restaurant industry is at an inflection point, and Congress must act now to replenish the RRF,” said Harris. As a result of these findings, we are asking restaurateurs to take action here and tell Louisiana senators to support the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The Louisiana findings were provided by the National Restaurant Association Research Group, which conducted a COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey of 4,200 restaurant operators Jan. 16-18, 2022. Read the report of key Louisiana findings here.

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


LRA Hires Will DuBos as Director of Government and Public Affairs The Louisiana Restaurant Association is pleased to announce the hiring of Will J. DuBos as its Director of Government and Public Affairs. His role will focus on supporting the LRA’s interest in state and local issues, the Louisiana Legislature and the executive branch. Additionally, he will serve as staff executive for the LRA’s Hospitality Political Action Committee, which supports industry-friendly elected officials and candidates across the state. “When we decided to enhance our advocacy approach, we chose to create a new position that would provide year-round engagement at the State Capitol and across the state to bolster the relationships that I built as CEO and our contract lobbyist team supported,” said Stan Harris, President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant

Association. “Finding someone with Will’s education, background, and existing relationships should help elevate our industry’s voice. We are pleased to welcome him to our team.” The son of Margo and Clancy DuBos, former longtime owners of the New Orleans alt-weekly Gambit, which covers Crescent City politics and restaurants extensively, DuBos developed a love for politics and good food at an early age. “Food and politics were the two most frequent topics of conversation in our home,” says DuBos. DuBos is a licensed attorney with experience in governmental relations, most recently, for Advanced Strategies, Inc., representing the Louisiana Video Gaming Association and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. DuBos previously worked at Top Drawer Strategies after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2019. While an undergraduate at LSU, DuBos worked as an aide to former Senator Danny Martiny and then messenger in the Louisiana State Senate. There, he developed an up close and personal knowledge of the legislative process. By the time he entered law school, he had honed his political instincts, particularly while working for four years as the aide to former State Senate President John Alario, Jr.

Mickey Freiberg named Louisiana State Whip for NRA Public Affairs Conference The NRA Public Affairs Conference is April 25-27 in Washington, D.C., and 2022 LRA Chair Michael Boudreaux has named LRA Director Mickey Freiberg to serve as this year’s State Whip. In that role, Freiberg is contacting LRA members who have yet to register or have not before attended this extraordinary opportunity. “This event is your chance to learn about the intricacies involved in some of the most pressing and even outstanding issues from the pandemic,” Freiberg said. “It’s because you have firsthand knowledge of restaurant operations that it’s so important to attend.” Learn about key policy issues such as the H2-C Visa, preserving the tip credit, and the possible resurrection of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). On the following day, LRA Members will share how Louisiana’s congressional delegation can help improve the business climate for restaurants in our state and nationwide in meetings on Capitol Hill. Read more and register at conference.restaurantsact.com.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

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Labor and Employment Counsel to the Louisiana Restaurant Association. 201 St. Charles Avenue • Suite 3710 • New Orleans, LA 70170 | Phone: (504) 522-3303 • Fax: (504) 529-3850 Atlanta Baltimore Boston Charlotte Chicago Cleveland Columbia Columbus Dallas Denver Detroit Fort Lauderdale Gulfport Houston Irvine Kansas City Las Vegas Los Angeles Louisville Memphis Nashville New Jersey New Orleans New York Orlando Philadelphia Phoenix Pittsburgh Portland Sacramento San Diego San Francisco Seattle Tampa Washington, DC Metro Woodland Hills Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022 9


Michael Boudreaux Co-owner, SoLou and Juban’s Restaurants Baton Rouge

Credit Frank Aymami

MenteebecomesMentor Baton Rouge restaurateur Michael Boudreaux reflects on personal encounters which shaped his career Michael Boudreaux has spent the last 30 years honing his restaurant business acumen. His career in the industry began at Outback Steakhouse where he was the Bloomin’ Onion guy” while working his way through the management trainee program and later becoming manager at the Marrero location on the Westbank of New Orleans in 1997. He attributes mentorship as the key to his personal and professional development. When leaving Outback, he had an exit interview at a local donut shop with Bruce Attinger, formerly of Outback and currently with Walk-On’s (and past LRA Chair), that lasted three and a half hours. Attinger challenged and inspired him in a way he still fondly recalls to this day. “Bruce saw something in the young me, and that talk was really the springboard for what followed,” said Boudreaux. “I still hold him in the highest regard and value his wisdom and guidance.” His desire to return to his hometown of Baton Rouge to finish his degree at Louisiana State University landed him at Juban’s Restaurant in their catering division managing off-site events. It was there he first met his now wife, Laura Juban, daughter of then partners Ken and Carroll Juban. In 2000, Juban’s Restaurant underwent a renovation, vastly expanding its footprint from 5,000 to 16,000 square feet, with nine private rooms and a maximum seated capacity of 450. Boudreaux would assume the general manager role, soon followed by that of husband and son-in-law.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

by Wendy Waren

In 2008, Boudreaux bought the Silver Spoon, a lunch spot on Jefferson Highway. Two years later, he took on two partners, Jeff Conaway and Chef Nathan Gresham, and transformed the space into the now popular Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar, featuring Louisiana farm to table cuisine. Over the following years, the group doubled in size, and in 2015 purchased Christina’s, a diner in downtown Baton Rouge. Further expansion with his wife and in-laws included Adrian’s on the opposite side of town. Like many of his colleagues, the pandemic forced Boudreaux and his family and partners to evaluate and adjust the circumstances for each property. They opted to close Christina’s since most downtown Baton Rouge employees transitioned to remote work. Admittedly, Adrian’s suffered from an identity crisis from the start, and with its issues further compounded by the onslaught of pandemic woes, was forced to close as well. Ironically, the pandemic did present an opportunity for a new venture. In the fall of 2020, Boudreaux teamed up with LRA past Chairman Peter Sclafani and Kiva Guidroz of Making Raving Fans Hospitality Group, whom he knew through the LRA and restaurant community for years. Because of the uncertainty in the market, Juban’s was put on hold, but the closure did make way for the three to turn their attention towards a new concept - SoLou Patio Restaurant Bar. The restaurant offers southern comfort food with a twist in a posh indoor/outdoor atmosphere complete with sprawling live oak trees and a signature Instagramable wall.

“Recently, I was standing at the bar next to Michael, and as I looked around I couldn’t help but notice he and I were the oldest ones in the restaurant,” laughed Sclafani. “There was a group of young people dancing on the patio, and the vibe was just electric. I asked Michael, ‘How did we come up with something this good?’” With inspired dishes like crawfish beignets, shrimp corndogs, fried cauliflower tossed in a Thai chili sauce, a Cajun charcuterie board and so much more, the menu is as dynamic as the cocktail list. Notables include a frozen mint julep and the Strawberry Hill, concocted with Ponchatoula strawberry infused gin. Occupying the former Rum House location on Perkins Road, the restaurant is situated just a stone’s throw away from Juban’s, which is currently undergoing a renovation and plans to reopen on April Fool’s Day (no, it’s no prank). With Juban’s long-standing fine dining reputation in the Capitol City, this highly anticipated revitalization will culminate in a refreshed menu while maintaining some notable staples including the infamous Halleluiah crab.

Zydeco Cauliflower

Credit Frank Aymami

The restaurant will operate under a new overarching theme, “company loves history.” “With this renovation, we’re reimagining what fine dining is,” said Boudreaux. This year, Boudreaux will serve as Chair of the LRA, the association’s most important leadership position. His involvement with the association began back in 2004, when he volunteered to accompany Chef Terry McDonner to mentor three Louisiana ProStart classes in the Baton Rouge area. Boudreaux attributes that experience as the catalyst for his continued volunteer service to the association and joined the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter Board and later volunteered to chair its annual golf tournament.

Credit Frank Aymami

After those ProStart encounters, I was hooked. To see high school juniors and seniors interested in what Chef Terry, and even young Mike Boudreaux, had to share, was so cool.

Seared Tuna

Under Boudreaux’s leadership, the golf tournament fundraiser tripled its contribution to the LRA Education Foundation that year. In 2021, the tournament yielded a whopping $20,000 for the charitable arm of the LRA. In 2008, he joined the LRA State Board of Directors and went on to become the GBR Chapter President in 2010. Since, he’s served as chair for chapter leadership, showcase, communications and advocacy/PAC committees. In 2017, he was elected as the LRA At Large Member on the Executive Committee and has served as the Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Chair, leading to this year as chair. “I’ve known Michael for over 20 years, first as a competitor and later as a colleague on our LRA Board,” said LRA President & CEO Stan Harris. “Early in my tenure, our leaders had their eye on him for future leadership and noted his friendly personality and willingness to get things done. We are fortunate to have him as our 2022 State Chair and to quote LRA past Chair Peter Sclafani, ‘we want him to be Michael Boudreaux!’” “Michael has incredible work ethic and interpersonal skills. Whether he was waiting tables and interacting with the guests or talking with the kitchen staff, he’s just a really friendly person,” said Attinger.

Tabletop S’mores

Credit Frank Aymami

WATCH HERE Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


2022 LRA LEADERSHIP Michael Boudreaux 2022 LRA Chair Michael is the co-owner of SoLou and Juban’s in Baton Rouge. He represented the LRA on the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. He is a Past President of the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter, and he has chaired several board committees.

“The LRA is fortunate to be led by a group of professionals who are actively involved in the restaurant industry, especially after the past year we’ve experienced,” said Stan Harris, LRA President and CEO. “These leaders support their peers by sharing best practices and ideas on how we can make this industry more resilient. Their willingness to volunteer their time and efforts during an extremely difficult business climate is critical to the mission of the LRA.”


Michael Maenza 2022 Vice Chair

Alan Guilbeau 2022 Treasurer

Michael is the owner of MMI Culinary, Mr. Mudbug’s Catering and SWEGS Kitchen in the Greater New Orleans area. He served as the 2019 Chair of the Hospitality Political Action Committee and also served as the LRA Showcase Chair. He is a Past President of the Greater New Orleans Chapter.

Alan is the Vice President of Sales at Ballard Brands which includes PJ’s Coffee & Tea of New Orleans and New Orleans Roast Coffee & Tea. He served as the 2020 Chair of the Advocacy/ Hospitality Political Action Committee. He also serves as the President of the Northshore Chapter.

Mark Latter 2022 Secretary

Octavio Mantilla 2022 At Large

Mark is the owner of Latter Hospitality including Tujague’s Restaurant, Birdy’s and The Bower Bar in New Orleans. He is a Past President of the Greater New Orleans Chapter and served as the 2017 and 2021 Advocacy PAC Chair.

Mantilla is the co-owner of BRG Hospitality which includes Restaurant August, Luke, Domenica, Borgne, Pizza Domenica, Shaya, Willa Jean and Cho Thai in New Orleans, and Eunice Restaurant in Houston. He has served as the GNO Chapter President and is the 2022 LRA Hospitality PAC Chair, for which he also served as Chair in 2015.

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

2022 LRA CHAPTER LEADERSHIP Acadiana Chapter: Randy Daniel

Greater Baton Rouge Chapter: Jeffrey Conaway

Are you or your spouse the better cook? Not touching this one! In Louisiana, we’re known to be adventurous eaters, but is there one food you refuse to try? Any type of “mountain oysters” Who would you want to play you in the movie of your life? Danny Devito

What is your favorite sandwich and why? A sailor sandwich – German sausage meets hot pastrami…boom. Would you rather be the funniest or smartest person in the room? A little of both. But honestly, I’d prefer to be the best listener in the room. How and why did you get involved with the LRA? ​ Melvin Rodrigue is how I got involved after working with him for five years at Galatoire’s on Highland Road. I’ve stayed involved for the network and friendships I’ve made over the last 15 years.

OMW Restaurant Holdings, Lafayette

Bayou Chapter: Michael Dalmau Cinclare Restaurant

If you could choose any two famous people to have dinner with, who would they be? Anthony Bourdain and Jon Stewart Would you rather be the funniest or smartest person in the room? Funniest – most people like humor much more than fact. That’s been pretty obvious lately. What’s the most important benefit to you as a member? It’s two-fold. I think advocacy at the state and national levels are very important. Equally as critical, is preserving and enriching our industry through programs like ProStart, which is such a major component of our state’s cultural identity.

Cenla Chapter: Scott Laliberte

The Diamond Grill, The Mirror Room, The Bentley Room and Hotel Bentley, Alexandria What is your favorite sandwich? Rueben. There is something about the shredded corned beef and layered sauerkraut that makes my mouth water every time I see it on a menu! I have never had a bad Rueben and trust me, I have had hundreds in my life. What was your least favorite food as a child? Do you still hate it or do you love it now? Chunky tomato sauce. I love tomatoes when they are on a salad, in salsa, in a soup or even in a pureed sauce, but I still, to this day, cannot eat cooked tomato chunks. What’s the most important benefit to you as a member? There are actually two for me. The first is the advocacy for our industry, and the second is the education for up-and-coming chefs and restaurant professionals. The LRA does an exceptional job supporting and advocating for our restaurants and provides quality, educated new industry leaders through ProStart and scholarship programs.

Beausoleil, Baton Rouge

Greater New Orleans Chapter: Scot Craig Katie’s Restaurant and Bar and Francesca by Katie’s, New Orleans

What was your least favorite food as a child? Do you still hate it or love it now? Beets, but I love them now. What did you have for breakfast this morning? Kingcake What’s the most important benefit to you as a member? ​ I can always go to someone for advice, because I certainly need it at times.

Northshore Chapter: Alan Guilbeau Ballard Brands which includes PJ’s Coffee and New Orleans Roast Coffee & Tea If you could choose any two famous people to have dinner with, who would they be? Ronald Reagan & General Patton If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza How and why did you get involved in the LRA? I joined when I started at PJ’s Coffee/New Orleans Roast Coffee & Tea. I wanted to be part of this organization to learn and network.

Southwest Chapter: Ben Ferguson Sysco, Sulphur

What did you want to be growing up? A chef – I’ve always been a foodie. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Definitely gumbo If you could share a meal with 3 individuals, living or dead, who would they be? My grandad, Thomas Keller, and Neil deGrasse Tyson

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


Credit Sandy Whann at Leidenheimer

“We’ve always valued our relationships with the many restauranteurs and po-boy shop owners in New Orleans and the surrounding areas,” Whann said. “That gave our entire family a great sense of pride, and really a mission. We knew that what we did provided for them to make a living.” Whann is fourth generation at Leidenheimer. Now his son (William) and daughter Katie open doors as the fifth generation. Katie runs social media marketing, while William helps with day-to-day operations. Whann’s sister Katherine runs all administrative and back of the house operations, while his brother-in-law is head of operations. His daughter Katie feels eternally grateful knowing she is part of “New Orleans cultcha.” It is plainly put by famous cartoon embodiments of New Orleans Vic and Nat’ly, created by late local artist Bunny Matthews, vibrantly printed on the side of local Leidenheimer distribution vans.

Gumbo, crawfish etouffee, turtle soup, BBQ shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, snowballs, king cakes, pralines, beignets and bananas foster are all traditional New Orleans comfort foods. Add the po-boy to that list, have it ‘dressed’ on Leidenheimer French Bread (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup and mayo) and the list is complete! Leidenheimer Baking Company celebrated their 125th anniversary last year, standing with only a handful of other New Orleans family-owned businesses who have been in operation for over a century. Current President and owner of Leidenheimer Baking Co., Sandy Whann (Robert J. Whann IV) says this is a anniversary to remember. Baking bread for family-owned restaurants and family dinner tables has always been the Leidenheimer way, a true constant in the lives of New Orleanians. Whann is greatful to the city for allowing his family to make a living, in turn allowing restaurant owners to do the same. This anniversary means everything to him and his family.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

“We take pride in being a part of something that is so engrained in the culture of this city,” Katie said. “This city means a lot to us. Having the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than just our family.” It was Sandy’s great grandfather George H. Leidenheimer who founded the bakery in 1896. A baker from Deidesheim, Germany, he traveled to New Orleans to be with cousins who were also bakers. The bakery honored his German roots, but Leidenheimer soon noticed a greater demand for French bread from his customers. French bread gained its popularity in the 20th century and gave rise to the po-boy sandwich during the streetcar strike of 1929. It was the Martin brothers, Bennie and Clovis, who fed out-of-work streetcar operators for free, as “poor-boys,” from their French Market coffee stand. Leidenheimer passed away in 1918, not living to see the fruition of the “poor-boy” sandwich. Whann believes his great grandfather is looking down upon New Orleans in awe of the evolution of his French bread.

opened our eyes to a whole new world which has been really fantastic,” said Katie. “It has given us the opportunity to communicate with restaurants across the country.” The restaurant scene in New Orleans is very tight knit. That relationship between restauranteurs, restaurants, and their patrons has only strengthened since the start of the pandemic. Whann stands as witness to just how important these restaurants are in the daily lives of New Orleanians, and all around the state of Louisiana. “Our neighborhood restaurants, our sandwich shops, our wonderful French Quarter white tablecloth restaurants, all play a role in many families’ lives in this city. It is a spiritual relationship here,” says Whann. “There is something that we get from gathering in these restaurants with our friends, our families, our loved ones. These restauranteurs and their employees are like extended parts of our own family.” Whann is a firm believer that the restaurant community of New Orleans will move past the struggles of COVID-19 and continue to safely provide a space for families to gather and share meals for years to come. It is the city’s historic family-owned restaurants who keep the oil lamps burning with hope. Credit Nicole Koster

“He would probably be amazed at the technology that we’ve been able to implement, where we’ve remained faithful to the formulas and to the process, but we’ve used technology to make it more consistent,” said Whann. “He’d find it to be, hopefully, the same as when he made it. Of course, he was not making the same exact products that we are today. In the early days, his products were far more European in influence, in terms of heavier, more brown dense breads from his native Germany. As the wonderful melting pot that was, and is New Orleans, it became more the French bread that we enjoy today.”

“If you’re ever at a table and overhear a beloved waitress greeting a regular customer and asking about their family, their grandmother, the new grandchild - it is an uplifting experience that they have kept going through COVID-19,” Whann said. “We all need healing from this thing, and what they provide to me, and to so many others, is invaluable. It’s remarkable what they do, particularly under the circumstances in which they’ve had to do it.” The circumstances for Leidenheimer haven’t been easy either. During quarantine of 2020, and after Hurricane Ida blew through South Louisiana, the office staff transitioned to remote work, but the bakery is where the magic happens.

Whann credits his employees and customers for being the reason Leidenheimer has been able to adapt in challenging times. His bottom line is to always be there for his employees and customers.

“It’s next to impossible to remotely bake bread,” Whann explains. “We can outfit their homes with modems, but we can’t outfit them with tunnel ovens and mixers.”

“We want to be there for our employees,” Whann said. “They’re here for us, we want to be here for them. You have to listen to your employees, and you have to listen to your customers. And really listen and understand what they need.”

It was no small feat, but the bakery continued to drop bags of fresh bread to customers and feed frontline workers through partnerships with local vendors and the #loavesoflove campaign. Whann listened and jumped in without hesitation when President of JMH Hospitality Glen Armantrout, who owns Mahony’s Po-boys & Seafood, approached him with the idea for #loavesoflove.

His family bakery has seen New Orleans in tough times, through many global milestones like the Spanish flu and both World Wars, but Leidenheimer has remained resilient. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. “There is a sense in the restaurant industry, particularly in New Orleans, that we’re all in this thing together, and I think COVID-19 has really amplified that,” Whann said. “It has been the dedication of many longtime employees, managers and customers who have been very understanding.” Another key ingredient to Leidenheimer’s success has been growing a presence on social media. Katie Whann is fifth generation and has taken the bakery to Instagram to meet their audience, aka “fans,” Katie calls them. “We created an Instagram account and revamped our website at the same time. Doing both of those in tandem

“I called up Leidenheimer, among others including Blue Plate, Tabasco, Chisesi, and rallied the forces,” said Armantrout. “For every tray that someone bought, the second one was delivered free of charge to a front-line location choice. It took off. We ended up preparing nearly 10,000 meals.” Armantrout attests to how much of a pillar Leidenheimer has been for the New Orleans restaurant community, and the taste of their French bread has been unmatched for decades. “Leidenheimer bread in simplest terms is ‘perfect,’” Armantrout said. “It’s got that nice crunch on the exterior and a billowy, pillow-like inside. They’ve been consistent with us, and they’re good friends of the restaurant and always have been.” Continued on next page

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


Credit Southern Foodways Alliance

Paul Rotner, CEO of Acme Oyster House and former board member of the LRAEF, knows his po-boy’s are not complete without being served on the “best French bread in the world.” Acme Oyster House offers a ‘10 napkin roast beef po-boy’ on their menu, and Rotner vows “you need every one, plus 10 more” to enjoy the traditional New Orleans gravy-soaked delicacy on Leidenheimer bread. Whann was born and raised in New Orleans, and has seen his French bread become a “tasty blank canvas” for chefs all over the country. “We happen to be in a city with the most talented chefs and restauranteurs in the country,” Whann says, “and to sit back and watch what they do with our product is very rewarding.” Tujague’s Restaurant has been in business since 1856, celebrating their 165th anniversary last year. Executive Chef Gus Martin loves Leidenheimer bread and has used it as an essential ingredient throughout his culinary career. “Leidenheimer is a staple in New Orleans cooking,” Martin said. “From the beginning of the meal to the end.” The Leidenheimer influence is clear. With its unmistakable flaky top and light, airy inside, their bread is truly a New Orleans original. Let us not forget either, the famous muffuletta buns they sell, and the ‘pistolette’ dinner loaves that restaurant guests break bear handed while awaiting their meal. You’ll even eat a slice or two served with a side of gumbo, or drenched in rum sauce as bread pudding. Leidenheimer is New Orleans culture you can eat.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

“Their bread has influenced so many great dishes of our city. I’ve used their bread throughout the majority of my career,” said Martin. “I love the versatility of their bread in my cooking at Tujague’s.” Ralph Brennan has been serving guests at his family restaurants for decades, and has “served Leidenheimer bread in our restaurants for a long as I can remember,” he said. As Brennan’s is celebrating its 75th anniversary, he is grateful to Whann and his family who have “been great supporters of our community and our industry.” Fifty years from now, Whann hopes Leidenheimer will still be a family-run operation, and that the work he and his family are doing now will pave the way for Leidenheimer’s success. “I hope were still focused on our customers,” Whann said. “I’m confident, that if we’re in business and successful, we will continue to focus on quality. I hope we’ve been able to create an environment that offers our employees the opportunity to grow, and is a place that our employees would recommend to their friends as a rewarding place to work. If those things are happening 50 years from now, I know we’ll be a successful company.” It is the bakery’s legacy of quality and customer service that he hopes will remain once it is time to pass the torch, or loaf, if you will.

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Louisiana Louisiana Restaurant Restaurant Association Association || aa lala carte carte || Winter Winter 2022 2022


Keeping thePeace Member share stories of finding love in the kitchen & maintaining peace amongst the chaos by Nicole Koster

Long before the po-boy became a menu staple, even before they were being slung for free from the Martin Brothers to ‘poor boys,’ there was the Peacemaker. Oyster sandwiches, otherwise known as an oyster loaf, were originally marketed for seafood saloons as a “peacemaker” between husband and wife. Upon returning home after a long day of suspected presumptuous behavior, the husband, often arrived with a French bread loaf stuffed with fried oysters in tow to keep the peace between the couple. She didn’t have to worry about dinner; thus, a happy wife. Dating back to 1851, New Orleans newspapers ran ads for seafood saloons, bars, and restaurants selling stuffed oyster loaves, and the original po-boy was born. Today, the modern peacemaker po-boy is typically a combination to satisfy both parties. All’s well that ends well. At Mahony’s Po-boys and Seafood, the peacemaker is a combination of fried oysters and shrimp topped with bacon and cheddar. If you’re at Acme Oyster House, the po-boy is split in half, one side oysters, one side shrimp with the addition of Tabasco-infused mayo for a spicy kick. In the fast-paced restaurant industry, things are always changing, but it’s in the kitchen where these hard-working chefs and owners find peace among the chaos. Let’s meet three couples who met and fell in love in their home away from home, the restaurant.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Holly & Eli Holly and Eli Cure own Antoni’s Italian Cafe in Lafayette. The casual Italian eatery has stood for 25 years, since 1996. It was 17 years later the former owners sold their beloved café to an even more beloved couple, Holly and Eli. The two met while working at the former Blue Dog Café. “We were friends first, and you know,” Holly said as she trailed off in giggles. “The rest is history.” She left to work at Antoni’s in 2008, and soon after Eli joined her there in the kitchen. When they were offered to buy Antoni’s in 2013, it was a dream.

“That’s the ultimate goal, to own your own place,” said Holly. Eli works front and back of house, while Holly mas moved on to a 9 to 5 office job, but it was their time working together in the restaurant that remains the binding element of their relationship. “I think we both bring our own strengths to the table, and it sort of fits together like a puzzle piece. I couldn’t do it without him, and he couldn’t do it without me,” Holly said. “To have a constant in the swirling madness is comforting.” You can find Holly greeting diners on the weekends, and she teaches a wine class to the service staff twice a year. “I still remain very involved,’ ‘It’s really important for me to be visible to our guests,” said Holly. “They’ve known me forever. A lot of our guests have been coming to Antoni’s since 2008 or before, so they’ve seen the entire trajectory of what we’ve done.” When they aren’t at Antoni’s, the couple is in their home kitchen making tacos or gumbo!

Chef Aom and Frankie Chef Aom Srisuk and her husband Frankie Weinberg opened Pomelo together. This boutique restaurant serves Thai comfort food on Magazine Street. Their story of origin, however, is more detailed than just meeting, getting married, and starting a business together. Aom has worked in restaurants her entire life. She was 21 when she met Frankie while waitressing at her family’s restaurant in the small beach town of Cha Am. Frankie, a fresh college graduate, was teaching English in Thailand. He became more enamored with Aom with every visit to the cafe. Once his one-year teaching contract was up, he returned home to Baltimore while staying in touch with Aom.

“I spent every penny I earned to travel to Thailand to see Aom or vice versa,” said Weinberg. Eventually, the long distance and changing time zones became too much for the couple, but they did remain in touch. Frankie nearly proposed before they parted ways, but Aom was given a great opportunity from her mother to run one of their restaurants in Bangkok. Frankie continued his work as a business professor at Loyola University New Orleans.

It simply wasn’t the right time. Seventeen years later, Frankie returned to Thailand on sabbatical. The two picked up where they left off, and eventually moved to and married in New Orleans. Pomelo is something the couple has always envisioned for themselves, Frankie even remembers having a sketchbook from his time in Thailand where he would sketch ideas of the interior. Frankie sticks with his day job as a Professor of Business Management but keeps a presence at Pomelo greeting customers and managing the social media accounts. Aom finds peace seeing Frankie interact with customers, while Frankie is calmed by knowing Aom is building something special in the kitchen. When Aom and Frankie aren’t at Pomelo, they enjoy being together in their kitchen at home cooking Japanese food, Aom’s favorite cuisine second to Thai. Frankie says they frequent the neighborhood joint Frankie and Johnny’s from time to time for some classic New Orleans comfort food.

Michael and Laura Michael Boudreaux and his wife Laura have been married just over 20 years. When he was working as a manager at Outback Steakhouse on the Westbank in the 1990s, there was a moment where decided he was done with restaurant management. He returned home to Baton Rouge and started graduate school at Louisiana State University. Boudreaux took on a part-time job at Juban’s Restaurant in the catering department. It was at a Christmas catering event he met Laura Juban, daughter of the owners. She would help with events on occasion, but they didn’t engage much at first. “I saw her, said ‘hey’ and she just kind of walked off,” said Boudreaux. Over the course of the next few months, Michael and Laura grew closer. The pair “began to click and work well together,” Boudreaux said. Their affinity for one another continued to grow and ultimately culminated with their marriage in 2000. A few months later, Boudreaux acquired the family business, renovated the space, and reopened the restaurant on Valentine’s Day 2001. With Laura by his side, it just felt right. Juban’s has since closed due to the pandemic but plans to reopen again in 2022, on April Fool’s Day, no joke!

“Laura is very type A, straight laced, ‘She’s my safety, I’m her excitement.” Boudreaux said. Excitement would be an understatement when the couple learned Michael was in possession of a winning lottery ticket, unbeknownst to him. He and Laura had switched vehicles for the day, and she discovered a generous stack of tickets beneath the sun visor. Boudreaux owned up but admitted they were purchased “only if he had quarters on hand.” Upon some sifting and cross referencing numbers, the two realized one was the golden ticket. Boudreaux credits Laura for squirreling away the money until the time was right, and it ultimately helped them survive the financial woes of the pandemic.

“I said to myself ‘I can’t ask her to step away from this.’ So, she didn’t know,” said Weinberg. “And I’m there on the island, ready to propose, with the ring burning a proverbial hole in my pocket for 8 weeks.”

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


Credit Randy P. Schmidt

mardi gras is on with Some Modifications

While the pandemic continues to unfold around us for a second year, the 2022 Mardi Gras parade season is again upon us, bringing with it yet another year of less traditional carnival celebrations. Among them, the Krewe of Zulu will roll, but on the Uptown route, given the low availability of New Orleans Police officers. The lack of public safety presence has some worried. Many assert that the 2020 Carnival Season launched the significant spread of COVID-19 in its earliest days. The current Omicron variant surge is responsible for the highest number of positive cases reported since the pandemic began. Fortunately, it hasn’t pushed hospitalizations to the previous record set by the Delta variant. Prior to Omicron, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell vowed the show must go on. In fact, she considered it a campaign promise. Even New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno agreed to be the Queen of Krewe Du Vieux, themed “Vaxxed and Confused.” However, as February approached and the Omicron variant was still surging, Avegno announced that she in fact would not be participating, agreeing to remain queen only in title. Not Only in New Orleans


Credit Randy P. Schmidt

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Celebrations extend beyond Orleans Parish, and the LRA Cenla Chapter will again host their signature event,

“Taste of Mardi Gras,” on Friday, February 25. More than 30 LRA member restaurants will be serving up their tastiest seasonal bites for over 1,500 anticipated attendees. This event is in its 27th year and provides Alexandria residents with a carnival extravaganza, complete with live entertainment and a VIP experience. Proceeds from the event benefit the LRA Education Foundation. Purple, Green, and Gold Isn’t Just for Cakes This year also brought a whole host of new king cake variations, which certainly defeated many New Year’s resolutions. Newcomer to the lineup, only in its second year, Brennan’s offered its twist on a king cake with their Bananas Foster version. On Twelfth Night, couriers with cakes in tow were dispersed across the city to news stations, food bloggers, social media influencers, and even to the LRA for sampling. Savory king cakes also continue to make an emergence including the boudin king cake from City Pork Deli & Charcuterie in Baton Rouge. King cake inspired menu items are popping up everywhere as a means to celebrate without being on the actual parade route. You can enjoy a king cake cocktail at Reginelli’s Pizzeria, king cake based bread pudding at Bistro Byronz or Carnival crepe cake from Restaurant R’evolution.

A Good Time – Monitored Certainly, we can expect increased enforcement measures this year. The Fire Marshal will ensure premise capacities are being adhered to and the Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control will curtail the sale of alcohol and tobacco products to minors. To avoid citations and possible license revocation, please review these friendly reminders for establishments, particularly along the parade routes, that are licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. · Develop a policy and educate employees on determining how to verify a guests age and proper identification. · Maintain adequate security. · Establish a plan to ensure minors are not served alcohol or tobacco products. · Ensure special event permits are obtained for any events outside your licensed premises (i.e., in the parking lot, etc.) · Confirm your alcohol and tobacco inventory is purchased from licensed wholesale dealers. · Verify all permits are current and clearly visible. · Remember ATC agents may enter your permitted location at any time. A K-9 may accompany agents during their inspections.

Tips & Tricks from carnival Vets With the sheer volume of parade-goers flooding the French Quarter, St. Charles corridor, Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Metairie and other cities across the state, safety for your staff and customers is of the utmost importance during festivities. Here are some tips from LRA member restaurant owners and Mardi Gras veterans: · Be aware of your surroundings at all times. · Regardless of the time of year, servers should avoid carrying cash, leave the business in groups, travel in well-lit areas, carpool if possible, avoid flashing cash and walking while using a cellphone. · Managers and staff are encouraged to move their vehicles closer to the building once the shift has ended and prior to closing procedures. · Keep side and back doors locked and alarms set when not in use. · Make trash runs before lunch and dinner shifts and be sure they are not done by just one staff member. Avoid leaving premises rear or service doors open. · Use camera and security systems.

Credit Reginelli’s Pizzeria

· Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle. If there’s a tip we’ve overlooked that you’d like to share, please email us at communications@lra.org.

Credit Randy P. Schmidt

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022





MAKE TIME for Safety Account for more than

2.5 MILLION hospital visits.

LACERATIONS Are the 5th MOST COMMON type of accident that occurs every year in the United States.

MAIN CAUSES: Not paying attention

Employees rushing or taking shortcuts

Improper training

Failure to wear proper hand protection

Lack of established safety procedures

Missing or improperly adjusted guarding equipment


• Keep knives sharp • Use the correct knife for the job • Never leave knives or other sharp utensils in sinks, on counters or in drawers • Wash knives seperately • Use stable surface for cutting

• Make sure machine guards are in place before operating • Do not use when guards are removed or broken • Meat saw blade guard should be no more than a 1/2" above meat being cut

• Keep scissors sharp • Remove damaged scissors from service • Use offset handles to reduce awkward wrist and arm positions

• Lock out and/or block out all sources of energy before an adjustment, repair or cleaning • Use personal protective equipment while cleaning

• Use cut-resistant gloves such as Hex Armor NXT 10-302 • Maintain gloves in good condition

• Never attempt to pick up broken glassware • Do not attempt to compress garbage • Do not stack glassware above eye level • Do not carry a knife while carrying other items • Place broken glassware in designated receptacle

(800) 256-4572 | (504) 454-2277 | lossprevention@lra.org Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Brennan’s New Orleans Hilton's Restaurant Supply Lafayette

Berry Town Produce Hammond

Southern Produce Co. Denham Springs

Creole Foods of Louisiana Kenner

TLC Linen Services New Orleans

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


NRAEF to award $1 Million in Scholarships and Grants in 2022 Applications open now until March 15 Between now and March 15, the NRAEF will be accepting applications for more than $1 million in scholarships and grants available to individuals pursuing a secondary degree in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. NRAEF scholarships and grants seek to lighten the financial burden of post-secondary education and support future leaders in the industry. In 2021, as students continued to face unprecedented pandemic and economic challenges, the NRAEF awarded $1.1 million in scholarships and individual grants to more than 300 students at more than 130 colleges and universities across 44 states and territories. Nearly 60 percent of 2021 scholarship recipients were Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); half were first-generation college students; and 70 percent were women. NRAEF scholarships range from $2,500 to $10,000 and can be used towards tuition and fees, books, room and board, as well as other school-related expenses. Scholarships are available to anyone pursuing higher education in a restaurant, foodservice, and hospitalityrelated field. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2022, and applications can be completed through the NRAEF’s online portal.

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Benefits and programs may not be available in all states or for all group sizes. Components subject to change. These plans have exclusions and limitations. Contact your UnitedHealthcare broker or the company for more details. Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of Illinois or their affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. Health Plan coverage provided by or through United HealthCare of Louisiana, Inc. EI20266455.0 08/20 ©2020 United HealthCare Services, Inc.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Contact your broker today or visit us at lra.org/benefits for more information.


Craig Dennison

Jason Jones

Tammy Smitherman

Alan Guilbeau

Chair Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Vice Chair Sysco New Orleans

Secretary/Treasurer Heartland Payment Systems

Immediate Past Chair Ballard Brands: PJ’s Coffee and New Orleans Roast Coffee & Tea

The LRA Education Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Craig Dennison as its 2022 Chair of its Board of Directors. Dennison is the Senior Director of Food and Beverage at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. Elected to serve as Vice Chair is Jason Jones of Sysco, also a sponsor of Serving the Future, the LRAEF Scholars recognition event March 29; Tammy Smitherman of Heartland Payment Systems as Secretary/Treasurer. Immediate Past Chair is Alan Guilbeau of Ballard Brands including PJ’s Coffee and New Orleans Roast Coffee & Tea. The 2022 Directors include: Bruce Attinger of Walk-on’s Sports Bistreaux; Forrest Bethay, III of Triple B’s Cajun Corner; Greg Reggio of Taste Buds Management; Michael Eastman of Auto-Chlor; Octavio Mantilla of BRG Hospitality; Michael Carmouche of Ecolab; Tony D’Angelo of MMI Culinary; Scot Craig of Katie’s and Francesca by Katie’s; and Emery Whalen of QED Hospitality. Dr. Yvette Green, Director of the UNO Kabacoff School of HRT will continue her service as its academic advisor.

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022



MARCH 29-30, 2022



Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Winter Training Sees Record Number of ProStart Educators by Wendy Waren This year, Winter Educator Training was held at the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux on February 4, with a record 41 ProStart educators attending. Led by Mistica Maples-Adams, LRAEF Program Manager, teachers underwent a boot camp style preparation for the upcoming Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Louisiana ProStart Invitational, on March 29-30. “It’s been two years since our educators have prepared students and participated in the Invitational,” said Maples-Adams. “Some of the competition rules have been updated, and our newer educators have yet to attend or participate.” In addition, the training included a head-to-head cook-off with JFCI students and LPSI Head Judge Randy Cheramie, who led two volunteer educators through the judging process. One student demonstrated how to use Blue Runner white beans as a puree to elevate the pan roasted quail dish, and Maples-Adams covered the national rule change that now enables competitors to use pre-soaked beans in competition.

Regional Leader of Recruiting for Raising Cane’s, Brigette Monistere, spoke about opportunities with Raising Cane’s to help students achieve their Certificate of Achievement through working at a nearby location. “Those leaders in your class, those are students we are really interested in. We are looking for students we can train to be managers,” said Monistere.

Another session featured the Registered Youth Restaurant Apprenticeship program led by David Emond, who explained the pre-apprenticeship requirements applicable to ProStart students. “It’s important that the ProStart educators can bridge their students from ProStart into an apprenticeship in the industry to further their career,” said LRAEF Executive Director Jonathan Baynham. “The NRA Educational Foundation sees pre-apprenticeship and ProStart as complimentary to one another.” The LRAEF would like to thank the John Folse Culinary Institute for hosting the one-day training event and the LRA Bayou Chapter for providing lunch from LRA member Spahr’s. Planning for Summer Educator Training is underway and will be held June 20-22 in New Orleans.

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Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022



Chase Family members talk about diversity in the restaurant industry

For many, the concept of a career in the restaurant industry brings to mind images of service and management within the restaurant itself. Though many successful careers do unfold within the heart of the operation, the restaurant industry offers vast opportunities to apply myriad skills and career callings, from the practice of law to financial and tax talent to nutrition and food-safety expertise to human resources, information technology, and supply chain leadership. This Black History Month, the National Restaurant Association spotlights the achievements of the four proprietors of Leah Chase’s “Dooky Chase Restaurant” in New Orleans. In the following profile, Stella Chase Reese, Tracie Haydel Griffin, Eve Marie Haydel, and Zoe Chase, represent three generations of Chase family restaurateurs.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Leah Chase’s Family When you think of New Orleans and creole cooking, the name Dooky Chase Restaurant is one of the first that comes to mind. The restaurant, built in 1941, was the one place where people of color could dine out freely during a time when Blacks and Whites were segregated. It was owned by Emily and Edgar “Dooky” Chase, but gained fame and popularity once their daughter-in-law, Leah Chase, came in and started running the business.

A restaurant steeped in history Known in culinary circles as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase, who died three years ago at age 96, helped change New Orleans’ dining scene, and was the inspiration of many great restaurant chefs who followed

in her footsteps. Her biggest contribution may have been providing a place of comfort and hospitality for the leaders of America’s civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. Today, three generations of Leah’s descendants—her daughter Stella Chase Reese, granddaughter Tracie Haydel Griffin, and great-granddaughters Eve Marie Haydel and Zoe Chase, have taken over ownership and management of the restaurant. These generations work together to build on their illustrious history and navigate business during COVID-19. “Our history is very rich,” Chase Reese said, “but the most important thing is that we were here, and we were blessed enough, to be able to provide a place for AfricanAmericans when they had no place else to go. “My father was a big civil rights movement activist, and my mother kept the restaurant going while supporting his activism. They worked together, going door to door to get people to register to vote, and did whatever they could to promote social justice and equality.”

Life lessons learned When asked about the biggest lesson her mother ever taught her, Chase Reese unhesitatingly said she and her siblings were all brought up to appreciate who they were as African-Americans and to be proud of their culture.

important to them. Many are active in the community, and want to see change there.” Zoe Chase, Leah’s 21-year-old great granddaughter, is about to assume chef duties at the restaurant, and excited to include vegan options on the menu.

The women all agreed advancing in the restaurant industry takes hard work and perseverance. They offered 3 tips on moving forward: 1. Know the business. Running a restaurant isn’t just about cooking. Understand all aspects of the operation, especially how to calculate and manage costs. 2. Be confident. Be that person who can step into any room and interact with everyone, from the staff to the vendors to the highest-ranking executive in the company. 3. Learn everything you can. Stay ahead of the trends. Keep on reading and talking to people. Expand your knowledge base. To learn more about DEI in the restaurant industry, visit MFHA’s website(Opens in a new window).

“It didn’t matter where we were or if we were welcomed at every place, but we had to have that conviction and pride in our own culture and who we were,” she said. “When you can appreciate who you are, then it’s easy to listen and learn about others. We were never told we were beneath anyone, but we were never told we were above anyone, either. Our parents always taught us treating people fairly was the right thing to do.” Haydel Griffin’s most vivid memory of her grandmother was the blueprint she had of how to live a good life. “She’d say, ‘We can solve the nation’s problems by sitting down and talking over some chicken gumbo.’ “That really stands out to me, getting people of different backgrounds to sit down over a beautiful meal is so important. You know, we host a lot of meetings here; a lot of politicians and families, old families, come to our restaurant. We want to continue to be a place where people can sit down, talk, understand each other, and foster the solutions for what’s needed today.” At 40, Eve Marie Haydel, Leah’s great-granddaughter, says millennials are different than the generations of her mother, great-aunt, and great-grandmother. They have a need for their work to be tied to their beliefs and passions, or they won’t invest in it. “It’s not just about working for a company, or the money you’re paid,” she said. “It has to have meaning. My friends don’t necessarily care about working for a corporation per se; they want opportunities that will help them grow, learn from other people, and figure out what’s really Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022





2022 T O U R N A M E N T

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, please contact Britney Ford at bford@lra.org or (225) 240-7189.



Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Great chefs never apologize for being demanding. They know their guests come for something they can’t get anywhere else in the world—fresh, premium seafood that is responsibly harvested miles, not continents away. Be Louisiana proud. Demand local. And support the industry that has long fortified yours.

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


Are you taking full advantage of your membership? The LRA and the NRA offer a number of benefits designed to save you time and money. Members who are actively involved in the programs offered by both organizations get the most for their membership dollars. We’re committed to making your membership work for you! For more information about these programs, contact the individual listed below, visit www.LRA.org or call Pam St. Pierre, VP of Member Services at (800) 256-4572.

Exclusive Programs, Discounts & Services for LRA Members

Business Legal Questions Johnson, Yacoubian & Paysse Alan Yacoubian (504) 528-3001 www.jyplawfirm.com

Labor & Employment Questions Fisher Phillips, LLP Steve Cupp or Michelle Anderson (504) 522-3303 www.laborlawyers.com

Accounting & Tax Questions Bourgeois Bennett, LLC Eric Fullmer (504) 831-4949

LRA Workers’ Comp Debbie Cuccia (800) 256-4572 www.LRASIF.org

OFFICE SUPPLIES Office Depot Receive discounts at Office Depot and Office Max stores! Text LRASPC to #555888 and you’ll get a discount card sent right to your phone.

Workers’ Compensation Claims Hotline LRA Self Insurer’s Fund (877) 257-2743

PAYMENT SYSTEMS & PAYROLL Heartland Payment Systems John Reynolds john.reynolds@e-hps.com Heartlandpaymentsystems.com HEALTH INSURANCE Association Health Plan Plan for hospitality businesses with 0-99 employees. Contact your insurance broker and ask for your LRA member UnitedHealthcare quote. For more info, contact Kaley Krause, (952) 921-6784 or kaley_krause@uhc.com

Large Group Insurance Contact your insurance broker and ask for your LRA member UnitedHealthcare quote. For more info, contact Amy Hathaway, (269) 792-1207 or amy_hathaway@ uhg.com Pharmacy Discount Card Free program (not insurance) with discounts on most FDA-approved prescription medication. For more info, contact Amy Hathaway, (269) 792-1207 or amy_hathaway@ uhg.com

Food Safety Certification ServSafe® | 8-hour food safety and sanitation course www.LRA.org to register (504) 454-2277 ServSafe Alcohol Online Training (504) 454-2277 www.LRA.org www.laserverpermit.com

MUSIC LICENSING BMI | BMI.com Save 20% off licensing fees by paying online. Rob Conrad (615) 401-2908 ADA RESOURCES ADA Toolkit Free to Members Call the LRA Communications Dept. (504) 454-2277

Affordable Care Act Get the facts and how the federal healthcare law affects you. restaurant.org/healthcare

Workforce Development RESTAURANT READY AND APPRENTICESHIPS Contact: David Emond Workforce Program Coordinator Louisiana Restaurant Association Educational Foundation davide@lra.org 504-920-4998


WORKFORCE PROGRAMS Contact: Jonathan Baynham Executive Director Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation jbaynham@lra.org 504-454-2277

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

LOUISIANA PROSTART Contact: Mistica Maples-Adams Program Manager Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation mmaples-adams@lra.org 504-454-2277

INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING PROGRAM Contact: Melinda Carter Program Manager, Incumbent Worker Training Program Louisiana Workforce Commission mcarter@lwc.la.gov 225-342-8980

Advertising Index BMI..........................................................................................29 www.bmi.com (404) 261-5151 FISHER PHILLIPS..............................................................9 www.fisherphillips.com (504) 522-3303 HEARTLAND PAYMENT SYSTEMS.............................17 www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com (888) 963-3600 LOUISIANA SEAFOOD.....................................................31 www.louisianaseafood.com (225) 342-0552 LRA WORKERS’ COMP..................................................23 www.lrasif.org (504) 454-2277

For advertising information please contact Ashley Wethey, Communications & Sponsorship Manager Phone: (504) 636-6516 Email: awethey@LRA.org Online: www.LRA.org

Do you have good news to share about your company? Want a “Shout Out” for your employees’ hard work? Send an email to acounce@lra.org with the subject “Shout Out” for a chance to be featured in our monthly newsletter sent out to members! Do you have an exemplary employee who’s been with you for 20 or more years? Do they go above and beyond the call of duty? Are they a shining example for young employees to emulate? If you’ve answered yes, then you have a LRA Restaurant Legend! Nominate your employees today! Email acounce@lra.org for more information.

PERFORMANCE FOODSERVICE..............................33 www.performancefoodservice.com (504) 733-5200 RAISING CANE’S CHICKEN FINGERS.....................27 www.raisingcanes.com (866) 552-2637 SERVSAFE..........................................................................4 www.servsafe.com SYSCO FOODSERVICE..................................................IFC www.sysco.com (504) 731-1015 THOMPSON PACKERS...................................................OBC www.thompack.com (985) 641-6640 UNITEDHEALTHCARE...................................................24 www.uhc.com (866) 414-1959

Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022


For more than 40 years, Thompson Packers, Inc. has proudly catered to the food service industry. Hotels, restaurants and other institutions have continuously turned to Thompson for their “center-of-the-plate” meat products. They know Thompson has the knowledge and the capability to provide them with the right items to satisfy their customers.


Louisiana Restaurant Association | a la carte | Winter 2022

Thompson’s professional yet customized service is like having a personal butcher at your disposal. What’s more, Thompson’s state of the art packaging affords consistency and “just cut” freshness on every item. Let us be your butcher. We’ve got the ideal cuts of beef, veal, lamb and pork — no matter what your needs might be.

Slidell, Louisiana

1.800.989.6328 www.thompack.com

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