GALATOIRE’S RESTAURANT on Bourbon Street in NEW ORLEANS … Since 1905
One of Galatoire’s long-time Waiters
John Fontenot … Since 1967
Yes I have a love affair with that storied old restaurant down in The Big Easy of New Orleans Louisiana … The restaurant is Galatoire’s, one of the Grande Old Dames of the great city of New Oreleans. Galtoire’s is not the oldest of these grand old restaurants of The Cresent City, no Tujague’s is the oldest and Antoine’s after that. Then there’s Arnaud’s which I well love also, and the newest grande dame of them all, Commander’s Palace out in the Garden District …
I’ve been all around the World, several times at that, and I’ve eaten at many famous and wonderful restaurants, and ones quite low-bro, yet great all the same … Galatoire’s is not low-brow by any stretch of the imaginations and along with the more so-called well-heeled tourist who make it there Galatoire’s is a bastion of the those in-the-know and those of whom might be considered well-heeled and educated .. The restaurant was a bastion of the likes of; Tennessee Williams, Huey Long, and other luminaries .. Tennessee Williams even included Galatoire’s in a funny passage in his great play A Streetcar Named Desire …
“Galatoire’s is a restaurant with traditions that have been preserved with little change through the decades. There has, however, been a slight modification of the restaurant’s once impenetrable policy of no reservations. Known for years by its characteristic line snaking down Bourbon Street, patrons would wait for hours just to get a table — especially on Fridays.”
The folks at Galatoire’s love to tell the story of the Friday when President Reagan placed a call to Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, who was waiting in the line outside. The senator went in, took the call and then returned to his place in line.
Me in one of my Happiest kind of moments. Eating Lunch at Galatoire’s
Shane Mitchell wrote a piece for Saveur Magazine that goes like this; “No one hands me a menu. It’s just not done on Fridays. Friday lunch at Galatoire’s … starts in the morning, with bourbon milk punch at the upstairs bar. One floor below, a congenial crush of locals clutch cocktails in the foyer. They wait until manager Melvin Rodrigue, in pressed powder-blue seersucker, opens the doors to the dining room of the 105-year-old institution. It’s 11:30 a.m.
“He guides the crowd to their regular tables. The gentlemen hang their Panama hats on brass hooks beneath forest-green wallpaper flocked with fleurs-de-lis, the revived symbol of the city’s fortitude since Hurricane Katrina. A table of ladies in dime-store tiaras and serious diamonds toss confetti into the air. Jacketed waiters bear large platters as they weave between bentwood chairs.
“One of them, Peter or Homer or John or Shannon, recites the specials and brings, without anyone seeming to have asked, orders of the twice-fried souffle potatoes, puffed like starchy zeppelins, with a dose of tarragon-scented bearnaise. Next, a side of fried eggplant sticks.”
Mitchell goes on to describe Friday lunch at Galatoire’s as a “genteel riot.”
That’s as good a description as any.