Tujague’s, New Orleans’ second oldest dining institution, the birthplace of brunch and home to the oldest stand-up bar in America, is celebrating its 160th anniversary. In honor of this significant milestone, the French Quarter restaurant will host a series of events and promotions throughout the year, designed to thank the community and patrons who have made the restaurant a culinary landmark in the Crescent City.
Proprietor Mark Latter says, “It’s truly amazing to have a 160th birthday and it couldn’t have happened without our loyal customers and visitors from near and far who have walked through our doors for over a century and a half. We’ve got a lot of fun things planned this year and hope everyone will join in the festivities.”
As one could imagine, the Tujague’s story is steeped in foodie lore—replete with ghost stories, butchers’ tales, and presidential visits. When the restaurant opened adjacent to New Orleans’ first public market in 1856, local workers came daily to enjoy a mid-day “butcher’s breakfast” now known as the international tradition of brunch. Trademark dishes from the earliest days included Spicy Shrimp Remoulade and Boiled Beef Brisket, and later the famed Chicken bon Femme. Cocktails are equally important to Tujague’s history; both the Grasshopper and Whiskey Punch were created behind the stand-up bar. The guest book at Tujague’s has included Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and France’s De Gaulle—as well as such notables as Cole Porter, O. Henry, Diane Sawyer, Don Johnson, Harrison Ford, Margot Kidder, Dan Akroyd, Ty Cobb, John D. Rockefeller, and many others.
Kicking things off May 1, Tujague’s will offer an $18.56 three-course prix fixe lunch, a tip of the hat to the year its doors first opened. Available Monday to Friday, diners can choose from a selection of starters including a bowl of hearty seafood gumbo and an oyster wedge—fried oysters, bleu cheese, red onion, cherry tomatoes, bacon, and herbs with a sweet onion-buttermilk dressing. Entrée options include seafood courtbouillion—Gulf fish, oysters and shrimp cooked in a creole tomato broth and served over rice; a petit filet mignon topped with garlic confit and served with potatoes and vegetables; and choice of shrimp, oyster or soft shell crab BLT po-boy with house made potato chips. The meal ends on a sweet note, with a traditional bread pudding. Guests can accompany their lunch with $3 house wines-by-the-glass, well cocktails, Bloody Marys or mimosas.
Also launching in May will be a special Tujague’s exhibit at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB), which will feature artifacts and memorabilia from the 160-year history. Apropos of celebrating 160 years, the restaurant will be added to the National Culinary Heritage Register, an initiative that honors culinary traditions, inventions, products, processes, and establishments that are at least fifty years old and have contributed significantly to the development of American foodways.
Other anniversary celebrations will include guest chef dinners, contests, a festive brunch and other special events.