When Owen Brennan, the beloved proprietor of the Old Absinthe House, was teased by Count Arnaud that an Irishman's culinary skills ended with boiled potatoes, he was determined to prove him wrong. In 1946 he opened Owen Brennan's Vieux Carre Restaurant on Bourbon Street, where Bananas Foster, Breakfast at Brennan's, and history were made in the process.
After a successful decade of business and Owen's untimely passing, the restaurant moved to its present quarters. In festive New Orleans fashion, loyal patrons ate and drank a final supper before parading to dinner at 417 Royal Street, a new location with an illustrious past.
Constructed in 1795 by the great grandfather of Edgar Degas, the famous pink building once housed the Louisiana State Bank, served as a private residence frequented by President Andrew Jackson, and was home to eccentric chess master Paul Morphy. It was bequeathed to Tulane University, leased and then sold to the Brennan family in 1984, and in 2013 was bought by partners Ralph Brennan and Terry White, who completed a major restoration.
Mystery and discovery surrounded the project, as talented artisans worked tirelessly to restore one of the city's most cherished structures. A forgotten hidden door was found, while a rumored gold-filled tunnel was not.
Today, Brennan's is both historic and contemporary, proof that fine dining remains proudly relevant. As other cities lose their traditional restaurants to lifestyle changes in a fast-paced world, New Orleans continues to embrace and support the grand establishments that perpetuate this art.
As the Story Goes...
Brennan's restaurant had the good fortune to adopt a family of turtles -- ten of them to be exact, and as green as they come -- who inhabit the fountain pool under a canopy of greenery in Brennan’s legendary courtyard.
In March 2015, after 19 months of displacement in a makeshift home in the backyard of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group executive chef Haley Bittermann, the Brennan’s turtles were paraded down the streets of the French Quarter in “the slowest second line on earth”. As the turtles rolled through the front doors of Brennan’s down a custom-made green carpet on handmade wagon floats a new tradition was born. This tradition has continued every year in the spring, as the “Krewe of Turtles” parade home in the “Slowest Second Line on Earth!”
Brennan's New Orleans
417 Royal Street • New Orleans, LA 70130
© 2020 Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group