GW Fins owner gets ‘Distinguished Restaurants’ recognition

Photo by GW Fins | CC Flickr

GW Fins owner Gary Wollerman was recognized with an induction into the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Hall of Fame, the dining establishment announced last week.

Wollerman is the seventh New Orleans restaurateur to receive such recognition in the 30 years of Distinguished Restaurants of North America (abbreviated DiRoNA) existence.

Other local restaurateurs on the list include Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant fame and Ruth Fertel, founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Candidates for DiRoNA Hall of Fame qualify by having at least 25 years of dedicated service and “making significant contributions to the dining industry and their local community,” according to GW Fins.

Founded in 1993, DiRoNA states on its website that its primary focus is “to elevate the dining experience for restaurant-goers across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean”

Additionally, DiRoNA states that its main objective “is to identify and honor exceptional fine dining establishments that provide an unforgettable culinary journey for their patrons,” according to its website.

GW Fins is located at 808 Bienville St.

Palace Cafe manager wins national tourism award

Gary J. Wood | CC Flickr
A Palace Cafe kitchen manager was recognized for his contribution to New Orleans tourism during the National Travel and Tourism Week, according to an announcement by the restaurant last week.

Palace Cafe kitchen manager Eric Offray was honored as the NTTW 2023 Tourism Champion during the 40th anniversary of the week, which lasted from May 7-13. Organized by Washington D.C.-based U.S. Travel Association, the week is in its 40th year and is an “annual tradition celebrating the value travel holds our economy, businesses, personal well-being and more,” according to the association’s website.

The Quarter Rat reached out to the Palace Cafe, a Dickie Brennan’s affiliated restaurant located at 605 Canal St., but has not heard back yet.

The restaurant posted a statement to social media on Thursday:

In 1996 he walked through the doors of Palace Café and it changed the course of his life forever. Steve Pettus, then Operations Manager (now partner/owner of Dickie Brennan and Co.), as well as others, saw Eric’s potential and pushed him to excel past his position of warewasher. Eric grew his role to receiver and then Kitchen Manager, where chefs and management alike will attest to his ability to run the wheel and help ensure food service runs smoothly. Eric always has a smile on his face and is willing to go above and beyond to take care of a guest or coworker. In addition to his duties as Kitchen Manager, Eric has been working with our sister restaurants’ heart of the house teams, sharing best practices and processes to ensure the properties are cleaned appropriately. You can ALWAYS count on Eric. Whether it’s outside his normal work schedule or on his day off, if you need help, Eric is there. When he is not working, Eric is also a prominent member of the Zulu Social Club, where he helps with many of their charitable events.

Palace Cafe

Palace Cafe on Canal Street holding job fair July 22

(Photo: ironypoisoning | CC)
Palace Cafe will be holding a job fair Thursday for applicants interested in applying to the company.

The fair will occur between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the restaurant located 605 Canal St. in the French Quarter.

Staff is seeking qualified applicants for front-of-house and back-of-house positions at various restaurants in the company.

Benefits include health and dental coverage, paid time off, retirement savings with employer contributions, discounted parking and dining and referral bonuses.

The restaurant is offering free self-parking parking, with validation, at the Wyndham Hotel located at 124 Royal Street.

The Palace Cafe is a part of Dickie Brennan and Co., which also includes Tableau, Bourbon House and Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, among others.

Restrictions lifted, back to abnormal

Starting this Memorial Day weekend, the restrictions on hours and occupancy have been lifted for bars, restaurants and live music venues in New Orleans. The past few weekends have been busy and we will probably see a great weekend. The weather is excellent and only about a 43% chance of showers on Saturday evening. With the shutdown becoming a thing of the past for now, those who were suffering from cabin fever will be coming out this weekend to see their shadows for the holiday.

Graph from NOLA READY

The state dropped the 1 AM closing rules along with the number of occupants. Posted on line are bunch of graphs and statistics that if any you claimed that you understood them, I would call you a liar. Whatever, can we just go back to earning a living now?

I spoke to the owner of Molly’s on Toulouse, they will be returning back to their original hours prior to the pandemic: 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until 7 a.m. on the weekends. The outside tables that were added for cafe seating during the initial limited Phase 3 guidelines will probably be kept.

Molly’s on Tourlouse, open Mon-Thu 2 PM-6 AM, Fri-Sat 11 AM-7 AM and Sun 11 AM-6 AM.

There was even speculation for 24 hour operatios on the weekends if business and manpower allowed. Finding workers is a concern for many French Quarter businesses. Trying to entice workers to come back to work at the beginning of the slow season is the challenge. Fat and convenient unemployment benefits is causing a foot drag with the returning workforce.
(Shaddup, you know it’s true.)

Even our supply guy told me that they are busy as hell, and short handed. Nationally there are still many supply line interruptions and suppliers are short stocked as well. Add to this rising fuel costs that will contribute to higher costs for all involved.

Everyone is hoping for the best but don’t really expect it to be exactly like it was before the shutdown. Business owners are holding their breaths waiting for all of the cards to be dealt before they plan how to play them. Customers want to come back to make up for a lost year. Customers are also concerned about the economy and pending inflation as well.

This is the new normal, or new abnormal by a French Quarter metric.

Graph by Quarter Rat

Let’s ruin Mother’s Day

Those of us who work in the service industries are use to working holidays. It’s expected of us and we do not (or should not) whine about it. It’s no different than those who work in emergency services, health care or workers in countless other industries. We work so others can enjoy a special day. Perhaps Mr. NOLA History Guy is fortunate enough to be able to decide what days he will and will not work. More power to him and good for him. I imagine being a historian has pretty flexible schedules, if any.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for every restaurant in America. Any mother who works in the service industries is very accustomed to working today. Businesses can not spare any staff. All hands on deck. There will be a day off soon that she can spend with her family. She has that job to support her family and parents make sacrifices for their children. Not everybody goes to work with a sense of entitlement. We work all holidays and yes, EVEN Mardi Gras. We do it out of obligation to our employers and customers so those who don’t have to work can celebrate. What have you sacrificed for others to have fun?

“Serve you for tipped minimum wage” Sounds like something a typical virtue signaling leftist would say. A Bernie Sanders type of tweet, “How can I take today’s topic and twist it to make political sausage out of it?” “How can I demonize the BILLIONAIRES?” (Admit it, you read that in Bernie’s voice.)

You can bet damn well that any mother serving tables, working in a kitchen or slinging drinks today worked her ass off and made some good cash. She has probably worked every Mother’s Day for decades without complaining about it. She doesn’t need some self-righteous Twitter activist to stand up for her. Maybe you were lucky as a kid and your mom could take the day off from dancing.

My mother died just about 10 years ago. For the first 86 years of her life she was very active and tough as nails. She raised three sons, practically on her own. She did yard work well into her 70s that most historians wouldn’t be able to keep up with. My mother spent the last six years of her life in a nursing home looking forward to the next visit from her sons four times a week. She would have been happy to work into her 90s if she still could have.

I would give my right arm to have my mother alive and working hard in a restaurant today. Waiting on those people who are fortunate enough to have this day off. To have just one more Mother’s Day with her, even if it was at the end of her 12-hour shift when she was dog tired.

So please, spare us your virtuous finger-wagging to gratify one’s self. Those who are mothers or are children who would prefer to be with our mothers today but HAVE TO WORK don’t need to be exploited for your attempt at getting likes from other pompous socialists. Who generally don’t like working any job on any day.

If you got to spend time with your mother today, or tomorrow because she’s working, be fucking grateful.

Contact Eric T. Styles at