METAIRIE, La. - Forty years after a rent dispute first moved Morning Call from the French Quarter to Metairie, the spot famous for its café au lait and beignets is moving again, leaving its Metairie location this summer.
The new rent dispute is with the owners of the Severn Ave. building which has housed Morning Call since 1974.
Morning Call owner Bob Hennessey confirmed that with the owners raising the rent, the restaurant will leave the building as early as May or June and is looking for a new location, possibly elsewhere in Metairie or even in the French Quarter.
"Metairie has been good to us. It's no reflection on the area," Hennessey said. "But times have changed and we are looking at our options, hoping to move to a place where we can continue to serve our customers and keep our employees working."
, which is representing the Severn Ave. building's owners, seeks a new tenant, at between $44 and $55 per square foot. Hennessey said that is nearly double what the restaurant is paying.
Morning Call, its beignets and its iconic neon sign – a white and blue coffee cup with the logo in red and the words “Open 24 Hours” - have been fixtures in Metairie since the mid-1970s when the restaurant first left the French Market for Metairie, because of a similar rent dispute.
Morning Call first opened in the French Market in 1870, operating there for more than 100 years, competing alongside Café du Monde, which remains in the French Market and has since expanded across the city.
In November 2012, Morning Call returned to the New Orleans city limits with an outlet in City Park, which has grown in popularity.