A celebrity chef from Birmingham, Alabama, who helped raise the city’s culinary profile when he opened his downtown dining destination 20 years ago, is opening a restaurant in his New York hometown. Orleans, reports NOLA.com. Chris Dupont, the former chef and owner of Cafe Dupont in Birmingham, sold this restaurant with plans to relocate his family to his native New Orleans and focus on an upcoming Magazine Street restaurant.
Dupont bought the historic building that once housed Cavan, according to NOLA.com, with plans to open a restaurant he calls his “last.” Prolific local restaurant group LeBlanc and Smith closed the Magazine Street bistro in September 2021 after five years, with owner Robért LeBlanc citing damage from Hurricane Ida and “extreme” staffing issues at the time. Although it was only open five years, the restaurant was highly regarded, especially for the romantic 19th century townhouse in which it was located.
Details of Dupont’s restaurant are sparse, but renovation permits linked to the address (3607 Magazine St.) show plans for repair and painting, extinguishing light fixtures, refinishing floors and adjusting the footprint of the first and second floor bars. Local architect Brooks Graham is managing the renovation; he helped design restaurants like Avo, DTB and La Boca. Eater has contacted Dupont for further information on the next restaurant and will update if we receive a response.
It’s reasonable to anticipate some general qualities for Dupont’s New Orleans restaurant, of course – the chef was an early leader in Birmingham’s embrace of the farm-to-house slow food movement. table in the 1990s, and was known for serving local and seasonal produce. Southern dishes favoring refined vegetable preparations. Dupont first opened his eponymous restaurant just outside Birmingham in 1994, but really gained acclaim after moving it downtown in 2003. In a 2013 restaurant review celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Birmingham News called it “Birmingham’s flagship for inner-city good”. to eat.”
Dupont grew up in Gretna on Westbank in New Orleans and moved to Birmingham after college to work at the Wynfrey Hotel. He returned to New Orleans in the 1980s and worked in several local fine dining restaurants before returning to Birmingham in the early 1990s, shortly after Café Dupont opened in Springville. According to Bham Now, Cafe Dupont’s longtime sous-chef Chris Evans is taking over as owner and operator of the restaurant.
Dupont plans to open his New Orleans restaurant at 3607 Magazine St. in late summer 2022.
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