Last month, chef Lazone Randolph cooked a batch of turtle soup big enough for the multitudes for the first time in nearly two years.
Randolph worked at Brennan’s Restaurant since 1965 and was its executive chef for eight years before that Royal Street landmark’s recent acquisition and transformation. The occasion for him to again serve one of that restaurant’s best-known recipes was the Whitney Zoo-to-Do, the gala fundraiser for the Audubon Nature Institute.
It also marked the first public event for Ted Brennan’s Decatur, the restaurant where Randolph will be chef when it opens its doors in the French Quarter. That opening, initially planned for the spring, has been pushed back a few months.
Ted “Teddy” Brennan, one of the planned restaurant’s proprietors and son of its namesake, said Ted Brennan’s Decatur is now on track to open in early fall.
“We’re taking a deliberate approach,” he said. “We’re working to revive some of the magic we had on Royal Street.”
Teddy Brennan’s immediate family, led by Ted Brennan Sr., previously operated the historic Brennan’s Restaurant. In 2013, the property was acquired at a sheriff’s sale by businessman Terry White and restaurateur Ralph Brennan, a restaurateur from a different side of the Brennan family. In 2014 they also acquired its business name and assets, and reopened Brennan’s Restaurant in November, after an extensive overhaul and with a new culinary team and a menu blending classic and contemporary dishes.
Meanwhile, Teddy Brennan’s family began planning a new restaurant of their own, eventually selecting an address three blocks away at 309 Decatur St.
The three-story brick building most recently housed a nightclub called the Hookah on its second floor, though the restaurant space on its ground floor has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina. Their plan calls for a large new restaurant covering about 12,000 square feet over two floors. The main dining room and a large bar will occupy the ground floor while upstairs will have a series of private dining rooms with names like the Patio Room, the Red Room and the Randolph Room, after the chef.
Little visible progress has been made on renovation here, but Teddy Brennan said the pace would increase over the summer and that the restaurant would be open in early fall. Meanwhile, he said, events like the Zoo-to-Do have been helping set the stage.
“We wanted to do a little something to get chef’s engine revving,” he said. “We hear from people who are missing Lazone’s cooking after two years without it and they’re ready to get back to it. So are we.”
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