Broussard's Restaurant Gets New Chef, Facelift
By Susan Langenhennig, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
The new owners of Broussard’s are starting to reveal their plans for the classic French Creole restaurant on Conti Street. A new chef will step into the kitchen next week, and a sprucing-up of the 19th century building should begin in about 30 days.
Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, a family-owned operator of several French Quarter cafes, restaurants and bars, bought the 93-year-old Broussard’s last month from chef Gunter and Evelyn Preuss, who owned it for 30 years.
The Preusses, natives of Germany who moved to New Orleans in the 1960s and became respected restaurateurs in the city’s fine-dining scene, have now retired.
Taking over Broussard’s menu will be Guy Reinbolt, a French-born chef who worked at several Michelin-starred kitchens in France and Germany. In the United States, his career has included stops in hotels, notably The Peabody in Atlanta, Trump Taj Mahal in Las Vegas and the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla. For the past six years, he’s been executive chef at the Sheraton New Orleans.
Reinbolt also is a sommelier. His “encyclopedic knowledge of wine” impressed his new bosses, said Zeid Ammari, Creole Cuisine’s chief operating officer.
Ammari runs the company with his two brothers, Marv and Richy Ammari. “We realized that Broussard’s is significant enough to not make a quick call but to take our time finding the right chef,” Zeid Ammari said. “Chef Guy is classically trained and very talented, and we were just blown away by him.”
Reinbolt will start next week.
He won’t have much time to settle in before the owners begin renovation work on the restaurant. “We going to do some TLC to the building,” Zeid Ammari said. “It’s a diamond; it just needs to be polished.”
Broussard is housed in an 1840s mansion with one of the most charming courtyards in a neighborhood filled them. It’s a popular place for wedding receptions and private parties.
The layout, with rooms facing into the courtyard, won’t change much with the new owners. The renovation, which will shut down the restaurant for about two weeks, is mostly cosmetic. Broussard's should be up and running again by June. “When we reopen, there will be new china, silver, glassware, and a new menu,” Zeid Ammari.
Broussard’s has always stuck fairly close to the classic French Creole script; a few noteworthy exceptions include the Preusses' German Reveillon dinners in December.
“Broussard’s had a little bit of a German twist under chef Gunter, and in the 1970s, it had a little Italian twist,” Zeid Ammari said, but “the history is French Creole, and that’s what it will be.”
Broussard’s opened the same year women won the right to vote. It was founded by Joseph Broussard, a Louisiana-born, Paris-trained chef. It became a haunt for silver screen stars and celebrities passing through the Crescent City, from Humphrey Bogart to Marilyn Monroe.
The Ammari brothers became interested in Broussard’s as they push to move their company more into fine dining. Last week, the family also opened Kingfish, a new restaurant on Chartres Street, with veteran New Orleans chef Greg Sonnier at the helm.
Creole Cuisine's other properties include several more casual and tourist-oriented cafes, including Le Bayou, the Original Pierre Maspero's, Pier 424 Seafood Restaurant, Bayou Burger, Bourbon Vieux, Chartres House and Royal House Oyster Bar.
Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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