After more than 10 years with Galatoire’s Bistro, executive chef Kelley McCann is leaving the restaurant in August to start his own as-yet-unnamed new venture with other local restaurateurs. As he departs, several changes—many that McCann helped kick-start—will roll through the Perkins Road bistro.
Unveiling an updated menu earlier this summer was part of a larger plan to make Galatoire’s Bistro “exactly that—a bistro,” Galatoire’s president Melvin Rodrigue says.
A bistro, in its original Parisian form, is a smaller restaurant serving simple meals in a casual atmosphere. Rodrigue says his focus is making Galatoire’s Bistro an establishment where people can drop in all the time rather than a place for a rare formal dinner.
“Galatoire’s Baton Rouge isn’t Galatoire’s New Orleans, and I think that misconception sometimes blurs what kind of restaurant Galatoire’s Bistro is,” Rodrigue says.
The new menu combines the current lunch and dinner menus, a change Rodrigue says alters the restaurant’s tone. Instead of having a formal dinner menu, patrons can choose options from one menu all day long, plus a couple of weekly lunch specials. New menu items such as a bistro burger, large salads and signature sandwiches will further elevate the easygoing atmosphere.
Of course, restaurant favorites such as Chicken Clemenceau and Pork Chop au Poivre remain, but those are already traditional to the bistro style of a simple dish of meat, vegetables and sauce.
The new executive chef, which the Galatoire’s team is currently interviewing for, will be charged with continuing the changes and developing more menu items and event ideas that encompass Rodrigue’s vision for the restaurant.
Rodrigue insists no bad blood exists between the Galatoire’s family and McCann.
“If anything, this is a proud moment,” Rodrigue says. “As a mentor, it’s your hope that people can learn from you and take those skills somewhere else. I’m very proud of Kelley for his new venture.”
Rodrigue says he hopes to have someone in the restaurant by the time McCann departs at the end of August, if not before.
“If I can, I would really like to have a chef in here before Kelley leaves so they can spend some time together,” he says, adding that the new chef would also spend time training at the flagship Galatoire’s in New Orleans.
McCann’s venture hasn’t yet been announced, but the chef says he and his team are working on finalizing the new restaurant’s concept.