I went to make a visit this morning, and while I was visiting family I decided to go to Mandina’s for lunch. Mandina’s is an icon on Canal Street and just reopened recently. I got there right as the doors opened, grabbed a table and watched the patrons flood inside for tables. The place instantly became noisy. However I was blown away by the remodelling job, the main dining room was expanded, the bar moved back, the little side dining area enlarged, there was a parking lot built next door.
I was overtaken by the beauty of the new Mandina’s, despite still being loud this isn’t the old time crowded greasy spoon – it was redone in flesh tones, lace and chintz curtains, and beautiful wooden tables and chairs. The support beam and brick walls were exposed, showing the patrons the age and history of the building. I ordered a cup of turtle soup, and trout almondine, and when I took my first taste of the rich brown gravy of the soup, I filled up and began to cry quietly – a flood of gustatory memories returned, dining there with my mother, after-funeral repasts from Schoen’s across the street, dining there with C – I was overcome, but I only put little out for display.
I bowed my head to regain composure, and when the waiter returned, he saw my face and I told him how happy I was that the restaurant had reopened. He agreed, and indeed another little piece of New Orleans returns from the dead…