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Barbara Chifici, owner of Deanie's Seafood restaurants, dies of coronavirus

Five of Chifici's seven children were involved in management of her restaurants in Bucktown, the French Quarter and Magazine St., which the family owned since 1982.

NEW ORLEANS — Barbara Chifici, the owner of Deanie's Seafood restaurants in Bucktown, the French Quarter and on Magazine St., died Saturday at Ochsner Medical Center Kenner. She was 77.

A statement from the restaurant group said Mrs. Chifici died of complications from coronavirus.

This past year, the Chifici family marked 38 years as owners of Deanie's, known for serving up overflowing fried seafood platters and mountains of boiled seafood.  The restaurant group employs nearly 300 people at its three properties.

“My mom was an inspiration to generations of culinarians and hospitality workers,” said her son Darren Chifici, Deanie's general manager, in a statement. “She instilled a genuine sense of hospitality, quality, family and pride into everything she did.” 

Five of Mrs. Chifici's seven children were involved in the business. A sixth is a restaurateur in Mandeville.

Born Barbara Anselmo, she married her husband Frank Chifici in 1963. The couple operated two restaurants, Chifici’s Restaurant in the Central Business District and Gramboli’s in Metairie.

They purchased Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant & Seafood Market in Bucktown in 1982. Mr. Chifici died in 1985.

In 2001, Mrs. Chifici opened the second Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant located at the corner of Iberville and Dauphine streets in the French Quarter. Deanie’s Seafood Kitchen, located at 2200 Magazine St., opened in 2018.

Mrs. Chifici was awarded an American Culinary Federation New Orleans’ Outstanding Foodservice Professional Award in 2013 and judged many culinary competitions across the country during her career. 

The company said she remained a fixture at the restaurants until the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs. Chifici also had a real estate business for many years. She was past president and a longtime member of the Elenian Club of New Orleans, a philanthropic group of women of Italian descent.

In addition to her children, survivors include 12 grandchildren, two brothers and a sister-in-law.

Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Chifici have not yet been made.

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