La Louisiane Restaurant

Street Address: 
1341 South Michigan Boulevard
Chicago, IL

Culled from: Drury, John. 1923-1963. Dining in Chicago, New York: The John Day Company, 1931, pp. 37-41.

Note: The Newberry Library holds the personal papers of author John Drury.


A Night In New Orleans

Gaston Alciatore, handsome as a collar ad, and with the ends of his mustache waxed, animatedly welcoming new arrivals with typical French — or is it Southern? — cordiality; French waiters lighting silvery alcohol lamps to make crepes Suzette; murals of scenes in the old French quarter of New Orleans decorating the walls; Ferdinand Alciatore, father of Gaston, looking down benevolently from an oil painting to the left of the entrance; diners gazing over the list of Creole hors d'oeuvres, trying to decide between salade d'anchoix or escargots a la bourguignonne; everybody, however, ordering Creole gumbo and that fish which is New Orleans' gift to the world's edibles, pompano papillotte.

Truthfully, here is a night in old New Orleans! Atmosphere, food, the service and the waiters, and Gaston himself, give you the impression of dining in that famed rendezvous of New Orleans' gourmets. La Louisiane, where Gaston's father once was proprietor. As a matter of fact, the interior of the Chicago restaurant is an exact replica of the establishment in the Mardi Gras city. Or you could easily imagine that you were eating in the parent restaurant of both, Antoine's, one of the oldest and most noted restaurants in America. Antoine's was founded by Antoine Alciatore, grandfather of Gaston. Julian Street, writing in the Saturday Evening Post, points to Antoine Alciatore and his two sons, Jules and Ferdinand, as outstanding men around whom the names of great restaurants have been built.

Chicago epicures and epicuresses thank the stars that there is a member of this great family of restaurateurs in town, for nowhere else can they indulge their passion for delectable viands with greater zest and enjoyment than in this one-story restaurant among the auto salesrooms of South Michigan Boulevard. All the great dishes of Creole cookery, which is the most original school of cookery in the United States, combining as it does both French and Spanish influences, are served here with such skill and palatableness as to draw people not only from all parts of Chicago but from other cities as well. The chef, Arnold Pfeffinger, was trained in New Orleans kitchens and knows how to prepare these dishes in the true Alciatore tradition.

Now, messieurs et mesdames, if you wish a typical New Orleans dinner, we would suggest salade d'anchoix — anchovy salad with beets, chopped eggs and capers — for your hors d'oeuvres. It's perfectly grand. Among the oysters, there is that culinary masterpiece first offered to the world in the old Antoine restaurant — namely, oysters Rockefeller. You may order it here, but you may not order the recipe of its incomparable sauce, for that remains a secret of the Alciatore family. Creole gumbo, of course, is your soup in any Maison Alciatore, for only the Alciatore chefs know how to prepare this noted New Orleans concoction in just the proper manner.

And now we come to the piece de resistance — pompano papillote. We could write letters home to mother, we could wax poetic, we could shout from the house-tops, over the delicious pompano that Max Manus, oldest of the Alciatore waiters, lays before us; we could go into a long dissertation over its virtues, describing the savory fish, the method of baking in oiled paper (the word "papillote" refers to this process), the history of this scaleless fish, which is found nowhere else in the world but in the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico — we could, in short, make ourselves ridiculous in our ravings over the delectableness of this American member of the finny tribe, but our suggestion is that you try it yourself. We're sure you'll feel the same way we do after once tasting it.

And don't forget to order souffle potatoes, asparagus tips and Southern alligator pear salad — which are the conventional accompaniments to New Orleans pompano.

In case you don't care for fish, however, there are lamb chops a la Louisiane, another specialite de la maison, served with livers and mushrooms and the whole drenched in claret wine sauce. This is truly a gastronomical delight and something you'll not easily forget.

At La Louisiane, almost any evening, you'll find both local and nationally-known celebrities. Maurice Chevalier, the French comedian, dined here when he was in town; such society personages as Count and Countess Minetto, Michael Cudahy, Jr., and Mrs. Frederick Countiss come in often as do those two Randolph Street theatre executives, John J. Garrity and Ralph Kettering. Tito Schipa, Chicago's favorite opera singer, is another patron, as is R. R. Donnelly, whose printing firm makes the telephone books. P. M. Goodwillie, the box manufacturer and about-towner, and his wife, are regulars and may be seen here often with their friend. Chief Michael Corrigan, of the fire department.

But celebrities are not the factor that counts in La Louisiane. It's the food — and what food! This place is a culinary landmark of Chicago and you shouldn't miss it. Gaston's vivacious French manner will charm you and he will gladly assist you in the selection of dishes. You may dance at La Louisiane, without cover charge, from 7 P.M. until 1 A. M.

La Louisiane French-Creole
1341 South Michigan Boulevard
Open for luncheon, dinner and after the theatre
A la carte. Two can dine plentifully for $5.00
Table d'hote, $1.25
Maitre d'hotel: Gaston Alciatore




1931 - 1931



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