At Lakeview Harbor this weekend, in addition to the burgers and the typhoon rum punch, you'll find a Friday night comedy show and a Saturday night performance from Benny Grunch and the Brunch that are both dubbed “bon voyage” events for the popular neighborhood eatery.
Just don’t go adding Lakeview Harbor to Grunch’s “Ain’t Dere No More” song about lost local institutions.
The last day for Lakeview Harbor at its 911 Harrison Ave. home is next Wednesday, Jan. 31. But proprietor Shawn Toups says this only signals an upcoming move, not a permanent closing.
He is still trying to nail down Lakeview Harbor’s next location, however, so there will be an interval when the restaurant is out of commission. Toups hopes it will be short.
“We’re definitely going to reopen,” said Toups. “We have a great staff, probably the best staff I’ve ever had here in 25 years in business. I want do right by them and keep that together.”
The impending move has been a long time coming. In July, Toups announced that the restaurant’s landlord would not renew its lease, setting up Jan. 31 as its last day here.
At the time, the brothers Blake and Brandon Bennett confirmed their plans to develop a new eatery at the address, describing a family-friendly concept with a focus on burgers in the kitchen and wine at the bar. They could not be reached this week for an update. The Bennett brothers run the upscale/casual Andy’s Bistro in Metairie, which combines steakhouse standards with a menu of seafood, flatbreads and burgers.
While Toups is adamant that Lakeview Harbor will not be saying goodbye, this weekend’s events do add up to a last hurrah for this location, long a fixture in this tight-knit neighborhood.
Some still remember the Harrison Avenue address as the home of the Velvet Swing, a bar of 1960s vintage that inspires warm if sometimes fuzzy memories.
Toups’ brother, the late Tony Henderson turned the location into Lakeview Harbor in 1993, opening it with Mark Schenck. Through the years, the kitchen’s calling card has always been a thick burger of house-ground beef under a yellow flurry of grated cheddar. Comparisons to the style of the much-older Port of Call are not coincidental. Henderson was a manager at that French Quarter burger destination before opening his own place.
Toups himself started working at Lakeview Harbor the year it opened, while he was still in high school. By 1997 he become a partner in the restaurant. Last year, he became sole proprietor after Schenck sold his share in the business.
After 25 years, he knows the restaurant has a strong following and he’s confident that will continue in a new location.
Meanwhile, the weekend starts with standby comedy on Friday with James Cusimano, J.D. Sledge, Bob Murrell and Matt Owens. It’s a ticketed event ($10) with doors at 8 p.m., the show at 9 p.m. Get advance tickets here.
On Saturday, the Benny Grunch and the Bunch show is 8-11 p.m., with no cover.
911 Harrison Ave., 504-486-4887
Lunch and dinner daily
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