Mat & Naddie’s served its last meal Tuesday. A manager confirmed the restaurant has closed, ending a long run for a New Orleans original.
Chef/owner Steve Schwarz also operates the related business Michael’s Catering, which will continue. The catering operation will use the Carrollton cottage that housed the restaurant for private events.
Schwarz would not discuss the change, but New Orleans has seen a continuous increase in new restaurant openings, increasing pressure across the ranks.
Mat & Naddie’s opened in 1994 and helped define a style of casual fine dining in New Orleans. The restaurant mixed Creole and global flavors for high-end cuisine in a loose setting, a format that has become commonplace across the dining scene in recent years.
The restaurant itself, an antebellum-era cottage, featured a dining room filled with local art and off-kilter angles that opened onto a large patio trimmed with Christmas lights. Located at the river end of Freret Street near the Jefferson Parish line, Mat & Naddie's had the ambiance of a country retreat, with views to the grassy green rise of the Mississippi River levee just across the street.
Mat & Naddie’s grew out of Michael's Catering, which was founded in 1982 by Paula and Michael Schramel after they bought the property by the levee. Paula Schramel said the property dates to 1853 and was considered a tear-down when they started renovating it for their catering business.
"Our banker told us it was basically worthless, but we did it anyway," she said.
When the Schramels later decided to develop a restaurant, they named it after a scrambled version of their children's names — Nat and Maddie. Schwarz started out as a sous chef and bought the business in 2000.
His menus were always changing and brought an eclectic style, with flavors from the Far East to the Middle East. Shrimp and crawfish croquettes would be served next to red-bean falafel. Steaks, catfish in green curry and a range of vegan entrees were equally at home here. The restaurant’s wine lists were kept in steel binders as heavy as armor plate and offered richly detailed, highly readable tasting notes on the wines.
The Schramels, who left New Orleans in 2000, now run a seasonal restaurant called the Flying Melon on Ocracoke Island, part of North Carolina's Outer Banks. They keep old media clippings from Mat & Naddie's on the walls of this restaurant, which Paula Schramel said still sparks conversations.
"We're miles off the coast out here, and we still get people who want to talk about Mat & Naddie's in New Orleans," she said.
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