30 May 2006

The Camellia Grill Remains Closed

There are those that say the Camellia Grill had slipped in recent years--that the food wasn't as good as in the past. The ownership had gotten into some financial troubles in the past couple of years and I recall some brief talk the place might actually be a casualty of the owner's bankruptcy. I remember having a conversation with a friend when this was in the news and we agreed the idea of New Orleans without The Camellia Grill would be inconceivable--no way it would ever happen. The events of 29 August 2005 obliterated that rationalization as well as countless others.

Its now nine months later and The Camellia Grill still hasn't reopened post-KTMB. Located two blocks from the River, the building is located upon some of the highest ground in New Orleans and the MAN-induced floodwaters of Lake Pontchartrain never came close to inundating this section of Carrollton. The fluorescent pink State of Louisiana Department of Health inspection placard necessary for reopening after KTMB was posted in one of the restaurant's window in October, but the place never opened. Perhaps, it was slipping a bit before the storm. Both the interior and exterior were beginning to be in need of renovation, but I didn't think the food or the service declined--although others would disagree with that assessment. The last time I ate there was about 10 days before the storm the evening of my son's fifth birthday. My wife and I made a big deal of taking him there for his first time saying that we had waited until he was big enough to be able to sit on one of the stools at the counter. Longtime TCG employee Peanut was our waiter. Word. He gave my son a yo-yo and had all of the patrons in The Camellia Grill sing "Happy Birthday" to him. If the place never opens again, at least my family has a great final memory of the one time my son had his birthday dinner there.

About two or three weeks ago I noticed a shrine of sorts has appeared on the front entrance of The Camellia Grill where with post-its people are leaving messages hoping for a soon re-opening, wishing for a particular dish, or communicating the desire to see a particular waiter. My son of course scribbled one to Peanut--wherever he may be.

There was something in the Times-Picayune a while back (like around Thanksgiving) about what was going on with The Camellia Grill but I've heard nothing for months . . . Anyone?


TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Carrollton, Camellia Grill


At May 30, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Mr. Clio said...

I loved the waiters, but I've been so angry with the place for that I can't say I miss it. I don't know much about the finances of the owners, but to me it looked as though they were using it (badly) as a cash cow. They refused to invest in the place and keep it first-class.

By the time Katrina hit, the Clover Grill on Bourbon Street was much preferable for me.

New ownership, or let the place live on in memory only. I admire your devotion, Mr. Fair.

At May 30, 2006 10:30 PM, Blogger Al Scramuzza said...

Let the place live in your memory, truly a loss culturally to the city (lord knows I've had my share of Chilli Cheese Omlettes with onions) but the place had slipped considerably, it was getting filthy and the service wasn't as "clever" as it once was. I started missing the place years ago, long before KTMB...now if Parkway Bakery hadn't reopened....

At May 31, 2006 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Fitzmorris reports that it is for sale and that the current owners are not likely to reopen.

At August 30, 2006 1:00 PM, Blogger David B. said...

Planning my first trip back and am truely heartbroken that the Camellia Grill is closed. The Mexican omlette was to die for, nobody else came close to that creation. I hope somebody reopens this institution and recreates the memories of the past for generations in the future.

At September 02, 2006 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a times picayune artile saying that the Grill has been purchased by a new owner and will reopen as soon as possible.

At October 04, 2006 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I here it's Emeril.

At April 17, 2007 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camellia Grill will re-open on Saturday, April 21 at 8:00AM. The new owner has renovated the whole restaurant. The menu and waiters will be back!

At April 17, 2007 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emeril did not by Camellia Grill. Hicham Khodr did. He is a partner with Emeril in NOLA.

At January 16, 2008 2:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever the dude is .... " Word ... Word ... Word..."

Amazing. The apple pie on the grill was stellar.

That was our first trip , Thanksgiving 2003. We live in Dallas and have obviously , well . My gf found this thread so that should explain what a profound time it was.

We just can't forget.. We've been to NYC 3 times. A trip to Zurich, south France , Austria, LA , and Vancouver.


At January 21, 2009 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...







Post a Comment

<< Home