Leah Chase, who died June 1, at age 96, seemed most at home in her restaurant, Dooky Chase’s, where she was forever directing the kitchen and greeting her guests.

That restaurant will immediately get back to the business of serving its community this week, her family confirmed.

The Chase family will open Dooky Chase’s Restaurant on Tuesday, June 4, at 11 a.m. and continue with normal service and business hours. Dooky Chase’s serves lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner on Friday.

The restaurant is a modern day landmark of New Orleans culinary culture and social history, extending over an interconnected complex of rooms at the corner of Orleans Avenue and North Miro Street.

It began in the 1940’s during segregation as a bar room and sandwich shop serving black customers, founded by Leah Chase's in-laws, Emily and Edgar "Dooky" Chase Sr.

As Leah Chase took on more responsibility here, it gradually became a fine restaurant and hub of African American community life in New Orleans. Eventually, it became a haven for civil rights activists to plan and convene. The Chase family openly defied Jim Crow laws by serving both black and white customers under their roof.


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Over the generations, Dooky Chase’s would host luminaries and presidents and become a destination for tour groups and banquets. It would also remain a lunch spot for everyday New Orleanians to reconnect with its classic Creole flavors.

The restaurant serves a lunch buffet stocked with a honor roll of local staples, including gumbo, red beans and rice, hot sausage and fried chicken, and its kitchen prepares Creole dishes of the old school, like shrimp Clemenceau and chicken Creole.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave., 504-821-0535

Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Fri.


Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.