Why Everyone Needs To Experience Commander's Palace At Least Once

If you're lucky enough to be in the Big Easy, put this on your itinerary.

Down on the corner of Coliseum St. and Washington Ave. in New Orleans, Louisiana, across from the Lafayette Cemetery sits another local icon: Commander's Palace. You can't miss it; the Victorian mansion (more accurately, it's been called "Victorian Cuckoo") is painted a vibrant, deep teal, complemented by an equally cheery white-striped awning. You'll know you're there by the crowd of tourists and locals alike that have flocked to the Garden District landmark.

Built by Amil Commander in 1893, the restaurant has been serving up creole and cajun favorites for more than 120 years, with a constellation of other influences and flavors mixed in. A New Orleans restaurant dynasty, the Brennan family, took over supervision of the restaurant in 1974, and since then the landmark has been home to a lineup of outstanding chefs, Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Jamie Shannon, Tory McPhail, and now Meg Bickford.

Commander's Palace Exterior
Courtesy of Commander's Palace

Even though the daughter of Ella Brennan (referred to as "the grand dame of the family business"), Ti Adelaide Martin, and Brennan's niece, Lally Brennan, now hold the keys to the establishment, they say Commander's Palace belongs to the city. "It belongs to New Orleans," Lally says. "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."

Former Southern Living travel and culture editor Hannah Hayes noted, "The restaurant remains so beloved that fans have written clauses in their wills calling for loved ones to enjoy a meal at Commander's in their honor." If that's not a good enough reason to stop by at least once on your next visit to New Orleans, we don't know what is. (Though there's no doubt, you'll definitely be back.)

Stop by for dinner Monday-Sunday, or enjoy lunch Thursday and Friday. Play your cards right, and you can catch Jazz Brunch, a lively affair that occurs every Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day as well as Mardi Gras Day. Check their website for times, dress code, and additional details, or call ahead to make reservations. For more information, visit commanderspalace.com.

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