The Emeril's New Orleans Renovation Is Practically A Brand New Restaurant

It's been less than two months since the walls came tumbling down at Emeril's, celebrity chef Emeril Legasse's namesake New Orleans restaurant, but the iconic venue is on track to reopen — new and improved — in late September. While the beloved chef, author, and television host has been reticent about sharing details of what's in store for patrons when the Warehouse District eatery welcomes them back, we do know plans call for an extensive renovation, including a bit of demolition work, before the restaurant reopens. A few days prior to closing, Lagasse sat down with his son and protégé, E.J. Lagasse, for a wide-ranging discussion on Tasting Table's "Shared Tastes" that included hints about the renovation plans.

"We were looking at some of those construction documents and I was like, 'Yeah, we're going to have to take this wall out,'" E.J. said, noting the wall in question had been in place longer than the original restaurant and adding, "And your comment was, 'Oh man, who knows what's going to be behind that wall?' ... We always say, if these walls could talk, you'd be able to write a series of books. It's funny, taking a sledgehammer to a wall that's been there for 35 years. There's something a bit Spidey-sense-tingling about that. I'm very excited, but it's like, 'Ooh, here we go.'"

A few hints of what's to come

While details about what's going on behind the scenes are few and far between, word is the creation of the new space involves completely gutting the familiar dining room, giving it a new look with fewer tables in a setting where staff will engage diners with hands-on, personalized service. E.J. and his father are working side-by-side with staff to create a high-caliber fine-dining experience designed to rival the world's top restaurants. In its new incarnation, Emeril's will offer two tasting menus: one classic and one seasonal. Service in The Salon will give members of the culinary team an opportunity to share personal experiences; the small-plate menu is inspired by team members' favorite dishes from around the world. We're not sure what shape they'll take, but the father-son duo also alluded to nods to Lagasse's iconic television shows embedded in the décor.

As big changes loom, Lagasse is Continuing to spread the good word about the history of Louisiana cooking. As he reminded E.J. on "Shared Tastes," "Certainly, that's next here, trying to cultivate a representation of not only your legacy, but the legacy of culinary arts in Louisiana, and cultivate a representation of that through the food and through the people in the building and through the story that the food tells. That's the goal here."

Emeril's New Orleans is currently closed. Stay tuned for a fall renovation reveal of the NOLA Flagship restaurant, with EJ Lagasse at the helm.