Hey Baby! This week I had to attend a meeting in New Orleans and since I was due for a much needed break I decided to extend my trip for a few days. Those of you who have been following my blog for a few years know that Nola is one of my favorite places to visit for fun, amazing food and entertainment. Every time that I’m here I make it my business to try a new restaurant. Honestly for this trip I’m really digging into the essence of New Orleans dining. One of my stops was to Dooky Chase Restaurant.
HISTORY OF DOOKY CHASE
Dooky Chase’s Restaurant opened its doors for business in 1941. What was initially a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet in 1939 blossomed into a thriving bar and later a respected family restaurant in Treme. Founded by Emily and Dooky Chase, Sr., Dooky Chase’s Restaurant soon become the meeting place for music and entertainment, civil rights, and culture in New Orleans.
In 1944, by the time Edgar Dooky Chase, Sr. was reaching his peak as an entrepreneur, his son Dooky, Jr., had already, at age sixteen, become well known for his sixteen-piece “transitional swing to modern jazz” band. Dooky’s band, with his sister Doris Chase as vocalist, was at one time the “most progressive in the South.” Dooky’s big band played the bebop sounds of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Dooky, Jr. had his father’s entrepreneurial spirit; and at age nineteen, he promoted the first racially integrated concert at the Municipal Auditorium.
Before the United States Supreme Court reversed its 1896 decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant had become the hot spot for discussing issues of civil and economic rights in the African-American community in New Orleans and throughout the country. Thurgood Marshall along with local attorneys such as A.P. Tureaud, Lionel Collins, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, and Revius O. Ortique, Jr. and later freedom fighters such as Reverend A.L. Davis, Reverend Avery Alexander, Oretha Castle Haley, Rudy Lombard, Virginia Durr, and Jerome Smith propelled civil rights and protests in the courts and on the streets of New Orleans. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others would join these local leaders for strategy sessions and dialogue over meals in the upstairs meeting room at Dooky’s.
In 1946, Edgar Dooky Chase, Jr. married Leah Lange Chase. Through the vision of Leah Chase, the barroom and sandwich shop grew into a sit-down restaurant wrapped within a cultural environment of African-American art and Creole cooking. Later known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Leah Chase would introduce one of the first African American fine dining restaurants to the Country. In addition to her signature Creole Cuisine, Leah would begin to showcase African American Art throughout the walls of Dooky’s. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was the first art gallery for black artists in New Orleans.
The Chase Family enjoys serving its regular customers, tourists, and locals. They also remain a stopping place for politicians, musicians, visual artists, and literary giants. Dooky Chase’s has had the pleasure of serving Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, Ray Charles, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the late Ermest Gaines, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, Solange Knowles and a list of others.
The restaurant is located at 2301 Orleans Avenue, New Orleans LA 70119. The location is very convenient to tourist who love you wander Bourbon Street. Although you can’t wait walk there from Canal or Bourbon Street you can however take a Uber for about $15-20. Upon arrival there was a 30 minute wait that only seemed like 15 minutes. I continued to do a little work while awaiting for our table.
The ambiance was amazing! I absolutely loved the elegant white table cloth setting. The look gave me “Fine Dining Vibes”. Although Dooky Chase is known all over the world for their fried chicken but I have to praise them on their amazing ambiance. I love that you can dine here with friends, family, business and even on date. The way that they cater to your needs makes them more than just a World Renown Famous New Orleans Restaurant. The menu covers every type of picky person that you can think of! Listen ya’ll I am PICKY! Oh and before I forget they also have a bar that stands alone from the dining area which is great if you want to stop by for a great cocktail and a bite to eat as well as take out. As I waited for our table I watched the speed of service that was provided for their takeout experience and I see why so many were ordering their food to go. I wanted to experience what all the hype was about to it was natural for me to dine in. Keep in mid that everyone and their momma and cousins have dined here. From your biological aunt to President Barack Obama.
Let’s dive into the food! Ya’ll already know that I ordered fried chicken and sides. Seriously what else would a southern girl order? I ordered the three piece friend chicken with macaroni & cheese, green beans, potato salad, yams, jambalaya, peach cobbler and ice cream. I loved the chicken, the seasoning and the coating was like none that I have ever had in my entire life. I was told that the competing restaurant for them is Willie Mae but child listen there’s no comparison. I will talk about that another day when I review Willie Mae’s. Back to Dooky Chase… The food was over all amazing. I will say that the macaroni & cheese wasn’t great. It was just okay but it’s fine because my expectations wasn’t for everything that I ordered to be excellent.
All in all this was an amazing experience. I would definitely dine there again and I highly recommend patronizing them for their amazing food, ambiance and the experience. Stay tuned for my next New Orleans experience.