Deanie’s Seafood owner Barbara Chifici dies from COVID-19 complications; all locations closed Jan. 29

(Photo: Jo Naylor | CC Flickr)
Barbara Anselmo Chifici, owner of the Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants company of restaurants, died Saturday following complications from COVID-19, according to local reports. She was 77 years old.

The company announced Thursday that all of its locations will be closed for funeral services, which will be livestreamed on YouTube starting at 1 p.m. CST.

Chifici was a native New Orleanian. At age 19, she moved with her late husband, Frank, to Paris so that he could study at Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute.

“I do not know one word in French, but [Frank] learned quite a bit and I actually learned things from him,” Chifici told Charles Marsala in a Celebrating Culture episode published to YouTube and dated sometime in 2020.

Chifici and her husband operated a catering business out of their home before expanding to two local restaurants, including Chifici’s Restauranton on Magazine Street and Gromboli’s in Metairie. They closed both of those restaurants and in 1982, the Chifici’s acquired Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant and Seafood Market in Bucktown. Frank passed away in 1985.

Deanie’s opened its second restaurant in the French Quarter, located at the corner of Iberville and Dauphine streets, in 2001.

In 2013, Chifici was awarded an American Culinary Federation New Orleans’ Outstanding Foodservice Professional Award for her more than three decades of achievement in the restaurant industry. Deanie’s recipes have been featured in several cookbooks.

“Mrs. Barbara” Chifici was considered the matriarch of the Deanie’s business, according to a Jan. 24 statement posted by the company on social media:

“She was proud to be a part of generations of family memories shared over a delicious combination of food, family, seafood and celebration. Mrs. Chifici leaves behind seven children and a deep legacy in the New Orleans culinary world. She and the entire Deanie’s family are forever grateful for your love and patronage. Rest in Peace, Mrs. Barbara.”

Chifici. Via Facebook.