ESTABLISHED IN 1840, ANTOINE’S IS THE COUNTRY’S OLDEST FAMILY-RUN RESTAURANT.
It was spring in 1840, when New Orleans was queen city of the Mississippi River, when cotton was king and French gentlemen settled their differences under the oaks with pistols for two and coffee for one. “Dixie” had not yet been written, destined to become the marching anthem for Confederate forces in the Civil War. This was the city young Antoine Alciatore adopted, after stopping in New York, to establish a restaurant that would endure under his family’s direction for more than 180 years and set the standard that has made New Orleans one of the great dining centers of the world.
It was on St. Louis Street, just one block from the spot the famed restaurant occupies today, that the 18-year old Alciatore started what was to become simply “Antoine’s” as a synonym for fine food. He felt at home in the French-speaking city of lordly aristocrats and their extravagances, an ideal audience for his culinary artistry.
The long line of the Alciatore family members and descendants has guided Antoine’s to continued greatness, through the Civil War, two World Wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression and Hurricane Katrina.
Countless celebrities have dined in Antoine’s dining rooms. Lining the walls are photographs of the rich and famous who have feasted amid the splendor … musicians, politicians, military personnel, sports figures, royalty … the list is endless. It includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, Pope John Paul II, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, Jimmy Buffet, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby to name just a few!
What’s in store in the years ahead? Are there other family members, perhaps too small at the moment to wield a chef’s whisk, waiting to join that long and distinguished line?