The South's Best Restaurant: Commander's Palace

Commander's Palace in New Orleans' Garden District is a Big Easy icon. Built in 1893, the restaurant has become a must-see for any visit to New Orleans for its incredible energy, amazing food (Emeril was once the chef!), and storied history.

View all of the South's Best 2017 winners here.


[MUSIC] How did Commander's Palace begin? Well, a man named Amil Commander started the restaurant actually kiddie corner to where wer are now sitting, right here in the middle of the garden district. Amil Commander Built Commander's Restaurant in 1893. And my family purchased this restaurant in the late 60s. They used to say it was 1880. We recently found out it was 1893. Cuz it used to be 1880, and then we found out, this historian told us a couple years ago that we had it wrong. So then T and I decided, well, what are we gonna do with this? So we made a cocktail called Oops! And we had like a little mini press conference, and we told everybody, Oops! But there is just perpetual energy coming out as it's just a very happy place. And it keeps the place highly energized. One of the things I love is the fact that I work in a family business. We don't consider ourselves having jobs. We just consider this as our lifestyle. And having your friends and Repeat customers or new customers that you get to visit with, and continue a friendship with. So this is my home, and our home. It feels very embracing, I think, for the people that work here and come here. Every day I get lots of stories where the people that come here Celebrating, sort of the times of their life.>>Other families have like history with you. And that's a lovely thing. You know you say you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. So you can pick your friends and make them your family.>>You know, my cousin Lally and I say that we may hold the keys to Commanders Palace, but it belongs to New Orleans. Our locals mean so much to us. Not only are they our friends, but they are our support. We've created lots of dining memories, so I think the people of New Orleans feel like Commander's is their restaurant. When you look back to the Commander's chefs, 40 years, we've only had 4 of us. From Paul Prudhomme to Emeril Jamie Shannon, now myself. I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of all my buddies. You know it's such a unique and interesting restaurant. It's not like anything else I've ever experienced, and so really has a tendency to bring families together, bring friends together, bring customers together. You know we literally call it the commander's. Your state of mind. I mean, the world is this crazy carousel. We want you to get off it for a minute and come in here and be pampered. And we take great joy in doing that. Everybody who works here wants to be the best, and they're passionate about what they do. If I could blindfold somebody I want them to say, yes, I'm eating great Louisiana food. But when you take off the blindfold I want them to say, man, that could be on the cover of Southern Living magazine. We feel that you're only as good as your last meal. And at the end of the night when you know you've done a good job then you can pat yourself on the back and it makes you feel really good. So then you come back the next day going, let's do this again. All those things make it just A joy and you know you're lucky to be doing what you're doing for a living. [MUSIC]
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