EJ Lagasse Gave Us The Details Of The Revamped Emeril's New Orleans - Exclusive

Joining the family business is one thing, but taking on the challenge of completely revamping one of the most well-known restaurants in the United States is another. But this is exactly what Chef EJ Lagasse, son of Emeril Lagasse, is doing with the family's flagship New Orleans location. The restaurant has been open for 33 years and has always been a premier example of modern appetites and techniques, but now, it's getting another upgrade. We got a chance to speak with Lagasse, who took over as chef patron at Emeril's and is seeing it through all of its changes — and there are a lot. In an exclusive interview, he told us all about what to expect from the revamped Emeril's New Orleans.

For those who think this may just be a change of menu, think again. "It really is a complete rebuild. Walls have been taken down, new walls have been put up, new glass has been put up. It's a new stove, it's new pans, it's the whole nine yards. It's everything new," said Lagasse. This may scare some longtime guests, but Lagasse pointed out that this is nothing they haven't done before. "When they did the Emeril's renovation in 1999, they took the restaurant that had been opened in '90 to that contemporary feel, and I feel that we're doing that again. We're taking Emeril's and bringing it to today, and bringing it to a contemporary place from an aesthetic standpoint."

Revamped menu

The inside of the restaurant isn't the only thing getting a facelift; the menus are as well. "We have two menus. There's the classic and the seasonal menu," EJ Lagasse told us. For those who are long-time fans, the classic menu is where you will find many of your favorites. "With the classic menu, it's my take on some of the greatest hits of the restaurant's past," Lagasse said. "It's paying respect. It's tipping our toes, if you will."

The seasonal menu, on the other hand, is full of new and unique-to-New Orleans dishes: "On the flip side, with the seasonal menu, it's a hyper-focus on the seasonality of produce here in the state of Louisiana, and a focus on finding and sourcing the best of the best for our guests."

Both menus will utilize modern techniques, as well as take advantage of local ingredients available in the area. Lagasse said that this is what the restaurant has always been about. "We're doing things the way we've always done them, sticking to our roots, trying to do what we do best on a day-to-day basis. That is trying to source these ingredients so that we can put together a technique-driven example of this Louisiana food for the people that give us the time of day and come to eat in our dining room."

What it means to continue the legacy

Even with all the work that goes into such an extensive revamp of the Emeril's dining experience, EJ Lagasse isn't backing down from the opportunity to continue the family legacy. "It's the best experience of my life so far. It's been fantastic," he said. He added that the opportunity has had an impact on each aspect of his life. "It means a lot from a family perspective, from a personal career perspective, from being excited about the city of New Orleans."

He is most excited, though, to share his work with the world. "We've got a new space, we've really done a lot to it, and I'm excited for people to see it, but it's a lot of legacy in that building. A lot of people have been in that building before myself and my team, and now we get to pay our respects to them as we reopen."

Emeril's New Orleans is now open for dining. For reservations and additional information, please visit Emeril's restaurant website.