Tujague’s Restaurant to remain in family, open

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tujague’s Restaurant will continue cooking its signature dishes, like shrimp remoulade, chicken bon femme and beef brisket with Creole horseradish sauce, as it has since 1856.

Mark Latter, the new owner of the restaurant and son of the late former owner, Steven Latter, announced in a news release Tuesday that the historic French Quarter restaurant will remain open and in the family.

“We’ve signed a new lease on the building, and I’m happy to announce Tujague’s will be here for many more years,” Latter said.

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WWL-TV reported rumors that the city’s second-oldest eatery would close and be acquired by a local T-shirt merchant sparked a movement to keep the iconic spot open in its current location at Jackson Square. Latter said fellow restaurateurs and the community helped spur action on the lease.

“The outpouring of emotional support and encouragement was tremendous,” he said. “Without it, this would not have happened.”

The issue was the building. Steven Latter owned the restaurant, but the building is owned by Steven’s brother, Stanford, the Times-Picayune reported.

“We’re moving forward,” Steven Latter said. “We finally agreed to a lease with my uncle and purchased the restaurant from my mother. It’s all worked out.”

With the lease in hand, Latter said he is moving forward with plans to update the restaurant’s menu. For the first time in Tujague’s 157 years, a la carte options will soon be offered alongside its traditional Creole menu.

Latter said he also has started interviewing candidates for a new chef and is putting plans in place to renovate the property.

“We’ll have an expanded bar menu, with our brisket and po-boy. And we’ll still have our garlic chicken,” he said. “Some things won’t change.”

Latter said he also is collaborating with cookbook author Poppy Tooker on the first Tujague’s cookbook.