Galatoire's

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Galatoire's
2009-0228-NOLA-004-Galatoires.jpg
The first floor dining room of Galatoire's.
Restaurant information
Established 1905
Head chef Michael Sichel
Food type Louisiana Creole cuisine
Dress code Galatoire's dress code is business casual for lunch. No shorts or t-shirts. Jackets are required for gentlemen starting at 5 p.m. nightly and all day Sunday.
Street address 209 Bourbon Street
City New Orleans
State Louisiana
Postal/ZIP code 70119
Country United States
Coordinates 29°57′18″N 90°04′08″W / 29.95495°N 90.069004°W / 29.95495; -90.069004
Website Official Site

Galatoire's is a restaurant at 209 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Jean Galatoire, an immigrant from a small village near Pau, France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, established a "saloon on Canal Street" in 1896.[1] In 1905, Galatoire purchased Victor’s Restaurant, in business at the location since the mid-1800s.[2] Galatoire renamed the restaurant and began cooking the dishes from his homeland. The restaurant is run by his fourth-generation descendants. Galatoire’s specializes in French Creole cooking. The main entrance, a French door, leads into the first-floor dining room. The first-floor dining room is a mix of high ceilings, slow-moving paddle fans, and mirrored opposing walls, maintaining much of the look of a mid-19th century restaurant. The second-floor dining rooms, opened in 1999, comprise smaller rooms overlooking Bourbon Street. At lunch, men may dress casually, although after 5:00 PM, and all day on Sundays, men must wear a jacket.

In 2004, Galatoire's was cited by the James Beard Foundation as the "outstanding restaurant" in America.[3]

Until 1999, the restaurant did not accept reservations, leaving patrons to stand in long lines on the Bourbon Street sidewalk. With the addition of the second-floor dining rooms and bar, standing on Bourbon Street is only needed for first-floor dining room seats, which are still always on a first-come-first-served basis. Exceptions to their first-come-first-served policy have never been allowed. According to the restaurant:

One Friday then-President Ronald Reagan placed a call to then retired U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, who happened to be waiting in line for a table. After the President’s call had ended, Senator Johnston graciously returned to his position in line.[4]

Most of the waiters are long-time employees who are professionals and local to south Louisiana.

In 2005 a second restaurant, Galatoire's Bistro, opened just off Interstate-10 on the southern fringe of Baton Rouge.

In December 2009, the descendants of founder Jean Galatoire, who had owned the restaurant for five generations, sold a controlling interest in the business to Destrehan businessman Todd Trosclair. After a subsequent transaction, a majority of Trosclair's interest was sold to New Orleans businessman (and political candidate) John Georges. As a result of this sale, Georges became the largest, though not majority, shareholder. Trosclair, who became chair of the board of directors, noted that even he would have to wait in line. Five members of the Galatoire family remain as minority owners. The executive chef, as of November 2012, is Michael Sichel.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

Author Tennessee Williams was a regular customer, preferring to sit at a table by the front main window. He mentioned the restaurant in his play A Streetcar Named Desire.

The Galatoire's Monologues[edit]

On April 27, 2002, Gilberto Eyzaguirre was fired from Galatoire's. Gilberto had worked as a waiter at the restaurant for more than 20 years, yet was dismissed after multiple sexual harassment complaints from the staff. The firing of Gilberto caused a huge controversy in New Orleans due to the dissatisfaction of the regular customers. The event became a social drama, and over 150 of the regular diners wrote letters against Gilberto's dismissal, along with creating a website for him, and talking about it on radio talk shows. [6]

There were two sides to this debate; that of the elites who were very against Gilberto being fired as he was a long-time worker at Galatoire's, and that of the broader public backed up by lawyers, journalists, and the former U.S. Attorney, who viewed the dismissal as a fair one. A columnist from The Times-Picayune named Chris Rose decided to use all the letters written for the journal in a satirical reading named "Galatoire's Monologues." The satire look place in a cabaret and had many local celebrities be part of it. It was a huge success and many of the readings became sold out. In 2003, the readings were performed at a conference in Napa, California, at the museum of American Center for Wine, Food and the Art.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McCaffety, Kerri (2002). Etouffee, Mon Amour: The Great Restaurants of New Orleans. Pelican Publishing Company. p. 56. ISBN 1-56554-926-0. 
  2. ^ Rodrigue, Melvin; Benson, Jyl (2005). Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes and Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers. p. 11. ISBN 978-0307236371. 
  3. ^ Foster, Mary (2009-12-10). "Galatoire's restaurant sells majority interest". Boston Globe (Associated Press). Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  4. ^ Galatoire's Restaurant website
  5. ^ Mowbray, Rebecca (2009-12-09). "John Georges buys into Galatoire's restaurant deal". Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  6. ^ a b Berris, David. "Authentic Creole - Tourism, Style and Calamity in New Orleans Restaurants". The Restaurants Book - Ehtnographies of Where We Eat. Berg. pp. 151 – 166. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Burton, Marda; Holditch, Kenneth (2011) [2004]. Galatoire's: Biography of a Bistro. New Orleans, LA: Garrett County Press. ISBN 9781891053238.  Extract from Preface
  • Galatoire, Leon (1994). Leon Galatoire's Cookbook. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0882899992. 
  • Rodrigue, Melvin; Benson, Jyl (2005). Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes and Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers. ISBN 978-0307236371. 

External links[edit]