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NOLADrinks – 1-26-17

On this edition of the NOLADrinks Show, we talk about the state of the restaurant business with a particular focus on New Orleans and independent sit-down operations. We welcome Robért LeBlanc of LeBlanc+Smith Restaurant Group and Sean Joseph, proprietor of Kenton’s.

Pictured above from left – Bryan Dias of NOLADrinks, Sean Joseph of Kenton’s, and Robért LeBlanc of LeBlanc+Smith.

NOLADrinks – 1-26-17 – Restaurant Business

We kick-off the show rambling (and, I mean, “rambling” – maybe the couple Sazeracs at Tujague’s – the historic second oldest restaurant in town – before the show had something to do with it…) through several topics. We talk about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore, cocktail and culinary tours in NOLA, and the newly proposed safety measures in the city.

This includes, as a part of funding from US Homeland Security, a concept that will force all bars in the city to close their doors at 3 am (not close for business or stop serving, but literally having to keep their doors closed), more security cameras, and police “sweeps” after 3 am to “encourage” patrons to be inside. We talk a bit about how this can be seen as a threat to the culture of the service industry and the city as well as how much more clarity is needed on these proposals.

About 42 minutes into the show, Sean Joseph of Kenton’s – recent winner of Best New Restaurant in New Orleans recognition by both New Orleans Magazine and Times Picayune – and Robért LeBlanc of LeBlanc+Smith Restaurant Group. That group, which operates Sylvain, Cavan, Meauxbar, and Barrel Proof is also highly-touted locally and nationally for their spots. We talk about the many threats to the restaurant business in NOLA with many implications applicable elsewhere.

Sean shares some of his experiences owning and operating spots in New York before opening Kenton’s. Similarly, Robért talks about some of the lumps he has taken in the business. It’s a very honest conversation and discussion where we touch on ideas of saturation/over-saturation, copycat restaurant concepts, the tradition of hospitality and food culture in town, the effects of the post-Katrina environment in the business here, and much more.


It’s a fascinating conversation about the restaurant business. Of course, it is a complex topic that demands further exploration. This is something we will certainly do in the very near future. In fact, we made a gentlemen’s agreement to do so over a bottle of Jack during the show! Stay tuned…

Below the show highlight video and the map showing the spots discussed in the show, you can stream, download, and subscribe to the NOLADrinks Show podcast. Tell a friend!

Cheers, You All!