gump

The historic building at 429 Decatur St. in the French Quarter was long home to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., a theme restaurant.

In the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” the list of shrimp dishes rattled off by Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue seems to go on forever. At long last, however, the seafood theme restaurant the film inspired in New Orleans has reached the end.

The French Quarter location of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. closed Sunday (July 29), after two decades in business.

The restaurant occupies a stately three-story building at 429 Decatur St., along a busy row of shops, bars and the Jean Lafitte Historic National Park visitors center. As of last week, the property was listed for sale for $5.4 million.   

The restaurant was operated by Landry’s Inc., the Houston-based parent company of a large number of chains. In a statement, Jim Dufault, vice president and chief operating officer of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. said the restaurant closed "due to natural lease expiration." 

"We value our employees, their dedication to our company and are working to relocate them," he said. "We are grateful for the support of our community and look forward to serving them at our nearby location of Landry’s Seafood House just a block away at 620 Decatur Street.”

In the movie, Forrest Gump starts a shrimp fishing business on the advice of his Army buddy “Bubba.” In typical Gump fashion, it turns into a huge success.

In real life, the Bubba Gump brand was cooked up with a seafood menu full of movie references, memorabilia around the walls and a well-stocked gift shop. The first location opened in California in 1996. The New Orleans location followed in 1998 and the brand grew to dozens of restaurants.

The Decatur Street location is in a historic building near what, at the time of its debut, was a hub of theme restaurants. Within a few blocks back then were outposts for Hard Rock Café (now on Bourbon Street) and Planet Hollywood (now long gone). 

Landry’s bought Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in 2010. The same company opened a new location of its Landry’s Seafood House just down Decatur Street earlier this year, in the Jax Brewery building. The company operates another Landry’s Seafood House on the lakefront.

Among the many other restaurant brands under the company’s umbrella, it has locations of Morton’s the Steakhouse and Saltgrass Steakhouse in the New Orleans area.


Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.