The Old Coffee Pot, a French Quarter fixture for generations, has closed.
Dustin Palmisano, owner of the restaurant for the past decade, confirmed that it had served its final meal on Feb. 10.
Located at 714 St. Peter St., next door to the landmark Pat O'Brien's bar, the Old Coffee Pot was part of the old guard of Vieux Carre eateries, known through the years for its Creole-style breakfasts. In particular, it was one of the last places to find traditional calas, the Creole rice fritters served under drifts of powdered sugar.
Palmisano said he has talked with possible buyers but that he doubts anyone would bring the restaurant back as the Old Coffee Pot.
He said the decision to close was a long time coming, and the culmination of a number of factors.
Business had been declining, and he said the restaurant could not survive a recent round of street construction in the French Quarter that squeezed further.
"We only did half of our normal business for two months with that going on," Palmisano said.
A high-profile revamp via TV chef Gordon Ramsay didn't provide exactly the boost he had hoped for.
“The Gordon Ramsay (expletive) didn’t help,” he said. “That didn’t close me, no. But it pissed some people off.”
Yes, if you've seen the commercial preview you know Gordon Ramsay plucks a dead mouse from the toaster.
The restaurant was featured in the second episode of "Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back" in June 2018. The famously temperamental British chef disguised himself as a musician to help lay bare the issues plaguing the restaurant.
The episode featured a scene where Ramsay, inspecting the kitchen, found a dead mouse stuck in a toaster.
To Palmisano, though, the renovation conducted for the reality show may have been more problematic than any of the TV drama.
"People liked the way it looked before. (The renovation) took away what people liked about the place, and that drove off the locals we did still have," he said.
The Old Coffee Pot occupied a historic town house with all the evocative contours of old New Orleans, from a carriageway sweeping through to a courtyard to the narrow balconies jutting above St. Peter Street.
Just how long the restaurant has been in business remains an open question. A brass plaque on the property reads "The Old Original Coffee Pot, 714 Rue St. Peter, est. 1894." Local food writer Tom Fitzmorris has pegged its start to the 1940s.
Palmisano bought the restaurant in 2010 when he was just 23.
Leah Chase, the godmother of Creole cuisine, got an early start in the restaurant business here in the 1940s, she told The New York Times in a 1990 article.
The show was called “Kitchen Nightmares,” and for one French Quarter restaurant featured on an episode in 2011 the bad dream won't end.
When a celebrity chef like Gordon Ramsay or Guy Fieri features your restaurant, the benefits are real — even if getting a face full of corned beef is the price of fame.
The appetite for reality-TV chef Gordon Ramsay's televised kitchen abuse (screaming, swearing and calling people "donkeys") appears to be endl…