Port of Call reopens again

(Photo: Dave Minsky)
A French Quarter burger joint has reopened again less than two weeks after briefing closing their doors following a to-go alcohol ban in the city last month.

Port of Call, located at 838 Esplanade Avenue, reopened Friday and for takeout and limited reserved outdoor seating. There is no indoor seating yet.

The restaurant announced on Aug. 5 that it will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Port of Call abruptly closed on July 25, one day after reopening following the COVID-19 shutdown and following a ban on to-go alcohol by New Orleans LaToya Cantrell in an effort to slow coronavirus spread.

Port of Call briefly opens, abruptly closes; promises to reopen

Hard Rock Cafe on Bourbon offers free Legendary Steak Burger to frontline health care workers

(Photo: Mark Morgan | CC)
The Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans is offering frontline health care workers a free menu item as an expression of gratitude for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hard Rock Cafe, located at 125 Bourbon St., is offering a free Legendary Steak Burger to health care workers, including doctors and nurses, with valid identification until July 31.

Visit hardrockcafe.com for more details.

Body left in Hard Rock Hotel collapse exposed after tarp falls off, then re-covered; Friday protest planned at City Hall

Port of Call briefly opens, abruptly closes; promises to reopen

(Photo: Port of Call in 2009. | Infrogmation/CC)
A popular burger joint in the French Quarter abruptly closed its doors on Saturday, one day after it reopened for business and after a new city COVID-19 restriction on restaurants.

Port of Call, located at 838 Esplanade Ave., closed on Saturday until further notice after reopening on Friday for takeout service.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday announced a ban on to-go alcoholic drinks as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus. The restriction went into effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday.

But the closure isn’t permanent. The restaurant, also known for its baked potatoes and Monsoon mixed drinks, said it will reopen.

“We are not closing permanently,” the restaurant announced over social media on Saturday. “Just waiting for the right time to reopen.”

Willie’s Chicken Shack closes following complaints of coronavirus Phase 2 violations

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen permanently closes due to COVID-19 restrictions

(Photo: Brenden Riley | CC Flickr)
K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, a famed upscale French Quarter restaurant, has closed permanently due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a spokeswoman.

In a statement released by spokeswoman Brenda Prudhomme on July 13, K-Paul’s has closed permanently due to government orders issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for the restaurant to stay open, according to the The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

K-Paul’s continued to operate on a take-out basis following state and local coronavirus-related orders in March shutting down restaurants for dine-in service. The restaurant announced a temporary closure in June.

The restaurant, located at 416 Chartres St., was founded by Louisiana-born celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme and his wife Kay in 1979, and became widely known for its Cajun and Creole menu.

Prudhomme died in 2015 while his wife died in 1986. His niece, Brenda, and her husband, chef Paul Miller, took over the business in 2015.

Galatoire’s CEO Melvin Rodrigue asks Trump for restaurant PPP loan extensions in White House meeting

(Photo: Peter Clark | CC)
Restaurant industry leaders, including Galatoire’s Melvin Rodrigue, attended a roundtable meeting with President Donald Trump last week to discuss the federal government’s ability to extend relief measures for businesses affected by the prolonged COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Rodrigue, who’s also Chair of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors, and other owners of restaurants big and small gathered at the White House May 18 to advocate to the president for the extension of certain loan provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program.

The program offered small businesses $669 billion worth of low-interest private loans through the Small Business Administration to pay for operating expenses and keep employees on payrolls during coronavirus lockdowns. It’s considered the main piece of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27.

Rodigue stressed the need for loan extensions for restaurants, citing a slow recovery as coronavirus restrictions are gradually eased.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered a May 16 phased reopening of businesses, including restaurants, which are required to abide by certain requirements, such as continued social/physical distancing of 6 feet or more and a 25% seating capacity.

“We rely on social interaction,” Rodrigue said, adding the reduced seating capacity will make comeback difficult. “When we reopen at 25 percent, we’ll lose more money than last week because now we’re incurring expenses.”

Specifically, restaurants seek to extend two deadlines in the law that make them eligible for loan forgiveness.

One is extending a June 30 deadline to Oct. 31, or longer, in order to give restaurants more time to hire and retain employees as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted; and the other is extending an eight week deadline to spend the loan on restaurant expenses such as payroll, rent and utilities.

The federal government gave businesses the chance to meet loan forgiveness eligibility based on how many employees are rehired by June 30 and then kept on the payroll for at least eight weeks.

Additionally, restaurant owners requested an extension of the duration of time in which they have to spend the loaned money upon receipt—from eight weeks to 24 weeks.

The city received more than 19 million visitors in 2019, or a 6.7% increase from last year, according to the city’s tourism bureau, although Rodrigue indicated it will take months for restaurants to bounce back from another disaster.

“We survived Hurricane Katrina,” Rodrigue said. “We’ve survived the BP oil spill. Restauranteurs are a [resilient group].”

Changes in the law require Congressional approval, although the Senate was unable to come to a vote on Thursday. The House is considering similar legislation.

In addition, Trump teased the possibility of a payroll tax deductions and liability protections for small businesses in order to protect against coronavirus-related lawsuits. Although several restaurant leaders welcome those measures, they touted the PPP extensions as an important first step to reopening.

Read the entire transcript of the White House roundtable meeting.