Renovated Brennan's restaurant reopens with new owners, chef & outlook

NEW ORLEANS - The Brandy Milk Punch is flowing again, the Eggs Sardou, Steak Diane and Bananas Foster are being plated, and there is new life, and multi-million dollar renovations to see, inside the historic pink building that is Brennan's Restaurant.

The building at 417 Royal Street reopened Tuesday under the new ownership of Ralph Brennan and Terry White, along with chef Slade Rushing and a new, revamped menu to go along with the building's new look, new staff and new attitude.

The owners spoke at a morning ceremony, during which they unveiled the renovated building, even returning its brass-lettered logo to the building out front.

They spent upwards of $20 million on the massive renovations, according to The New Orleans Advocate. The renovations to the building include new looks for many of the dining rooms, the bar, a relocated kitchen and repairs to the familiar courtyard.

"This is a wonderful food city and my family has been very, very lucky to be a part of it," Brennan said at Tuesday's ceremony. "I just think about all the members of my family who started this and what they started and we get to continue it."

Brennan and White bought the building this past May, as part of the ongoing family and court controversy over who would own and run the iconic French Quarter restaurant.

Brennan's uncle, Owen Edward Brennan, founded the restaurant, moving in the 1940s to a building that dates to 1795. Owen Brennan's sons, Pip, Ted and Jimmy Brennan, ran things until the company found itself mired in debt and at the center of a family ownership fight.

With Ralph Brennan having bought the building, name and restaurant's recipes, he is now in control of the French Quarter landmark and charting a new course for its future. He and Rushing told The Advocate they plan to revive many beloved old dishes while also creating new spins on old classics.

For the next week or so, the Royal St. Brennan's will be open for breakfast and lunch only, later adding dinner. Breakfast at Brennan's has become an iconic New Orleans meal over the years, dating back to Owen Brennan's time at the restaurant in the 1940s.

Continuing his family's legacy, Ted Brennan and his children say they plan to open their own restaurant on Decatur Street.


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