New Orleans Institution Commander's Palace Finally Reopens to Diners for the First Time Since March
Things at the New Orleans landmark will look a little different for the time being.
Nearly six months after it was shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, a New Orleans institution will finally reopen its doors this week.
Full-service at Commander’s Palace is set to resume Friday, September 11, beginning with dinner and weekend brunch, with plans to extend service hours in the future.
“This starts with our people,” Ti Martin, who runs Commander's Palace with her cousin Lally Brennan, told The Advocate. “There's a faint hint of hope that fall is approaching, and things will get better. So, we're giving this the college try. We’re trying for our team, for our city, and we’re trying to survive like anyone else in the business.”
Though the landmark has managed to stay afloat thanks to takeout, nationwide ordering, and virtual wine and cheese parties, the doors of the 127-year-old restaurant have been closed to diners since March.
Following Louisiana’s rules for phase two reopening, Commander’s Palace will return with 50% capacity on Friday. The famous jazz brunch will also return, though now only on the patio. Staff will be checking customers' temperatures as they enter.
The restaurant also plans to continue its pandemic-inspired initiatives—like to-go ordering and its wildly successfully virtual wine and cheese parties—for as long as possible.
"We have some very entrepreneurial people here who came up with these businesses," Martin told The Advocate. "We want to keep them going, and we think we’re going to need them considering what restaurants are up against now."
Things are changing internally too, with big steps to revamp workplace culture. The restaurant is reportedly adding sick leave to its benefits package for staff and is seeking out more minority-owned businesses as purveyors.
WATCH: Take A 360˚ Tour Of Commander's Palace
By reopening now, Commander's Palace will be relying on a mostly local clientele. But, according to Martin, that only adds to their sense of purpose.
"We want to be one of many bright lights on the horizon for New Orleans, it’s about this whole community coming back,” she told the paper. “We’re all trying to do this together."
This story originally appeared on Southern Living .