French Quarter-area residents and tourists received a scare earlier this month that Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant announced that it was on the brink of going out of business, but then the bar did an about-face and said danger was averted, at least for now, after people started showing up.
On July 2, Buffa’s posted an article on social media stating that it will “likely” close sometime that week, with the owners citing “skyrocketing rent, high overhead costs and a decline in tourism and clientele.” The day before, Buffa’s ominously posted “the last brunch,” along with a recorded video of its usual Sunday jazz brunch.
The article said a miracle was needed and something resembling that happened: people started patronizing the shit outta the place.
“Like many things on social media, rumors of our closing have been a little exaggerated,” Buffa’s said in a July 3 post. “The situation is dire, that much is true. But we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community. We were busy enough on Sunday to postpone closing a little bit. Every day we can do that allows us to discover and explore other options.”
Buffa’s takes its name after Vincent Buffa, who opened the bar on the corner of Burgundy Street and Esplanade Avenue in 1939. Since then, the place has become what some have described as a “staple” or an “institution.”
Despite surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in numerous local businesses shutting down, Buffa’s is instead faced with the prospect of shuttering its doors due to declining business.
Buffa’s has, at least for now, avoided closing after an outpouring of support, but warns the situation is still “very fluid” and has asked that regulars make a stop there at least once a month.
The business said that if enough people frequent the establishment on a regular basis, it’ll stay open, but also pleaded with the community to do the same for other family-owned businesses.
“They are hurting too,” the bar stated. “If you could find 3 or 4 places you love to go every month, and your friends did that as well, so many of the places we love in New Orleans would not be facing the ominous prospect of going out of business forever.”
Buffa’s told its staff that it’ll “deal with the future when it gets here,” although right now the place is focusing on saying open. “We promise to hang in there as long as we can,” Buffa’s owners said.
A Buffa’s GoFundMe page was started on July 3, with people contributing more than $24,000 since then.
Buffa’s is located at 1001 Esplanade Ave., on the edge of the French Quarter.