Frenchmen Street’s Adolfo restaurant is closed ‘indefinitely’, but that doesn’t mean forever | Where NOLA eats
As soon as the signs settled in the windows of Adolfo, some regulars at the longtime Frenchmen Street restaurant felt a dread that made their stomachs ache.
“Adolfo’s restaurant has closed indefinitely,” the signs read, perhaps presaging the loss of another beloved New Orleans restaurant amid a pandemic that has already claimed many.
However, “indefinitely” does not mean forever; Adolfo co-owner Kim Perez intended it as a statement of uncertainty in these very difficult times.
Her husband, Adolfo Perez Palavicini, the chef and co-owner, has been hospitalized since last week for a serious health problem. She would not give details of her condition, but said she was receiving encouraging reports of her progress.
Now she plans to reopen the restaurant in the coming weeks with veteran staff who will take care of the kitchen until Palavicini can return.
That will mean a shorter menu to start with, and Perez fears some long-time customers will be disappointed if their favorite dishes aren’t there at the start. But she said this reopening plan represented “small steps” to get Adolfo back into full operation.
Palavicini has run the restaurant for almost a quarter of a century. This July will mark the 25th anniversary of his taking over the small space on the second floor at 611 Frenchmen St.
Now 63, he was the driving force behind the restaurant, his wife said.
“Other people in the business now, they would back down, but he’s the one beating the veal, shopping for the food, making the selections. He’s still there,” Perez said. “They don’t make them like him anymore.”
Adolfo’s is a small restaurant with a bohemian vibe and a varied menu of Italian dishes and Louisiana seafood.
It’s been a neighborhood favorite since the days when Frenchmen Street was still a relatively low-key collection of bars, clubs and other businesses, attracting a largely local clientele. As the nightlife has grown in popularity and tourist appeal, the restaurant has maintained a cohesive identity, attracting regulars for their favorite dishes.
Oysters poached in Pernod, Manny steak with rum-pepper sauce, veal with ocean sauce (a creamy concoction sprinkled with shellfish and capers) and tender cannelloni stuffed with crab, corn and ricotta are among his many signatures.
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The same owners run the small Apple Barrel bar and music club, located downstairs from the restaurant. This space served as an additional dining room for much of the pandemic. Perez said it was too small to reopen as a venue under previous restrictions.
Now, she says, the plan is to return the Apple Barrel with live music once the omicron surge subsides.
611 French Street
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