Kane and Dempsey will reopen Le Rosier's restaurant in August for weekday lunch and plan to launch a weekend dinner menu in September. If the community supports it, the restaurant will eventually have a full nightly offering. "We'll see how much more we can take," says Kane, who is leasing Le Rosier from owners David and Carolyn Groner.
Pat Kahle, director of the city's noted tourist attraction Shadows-on-the-Teche, located across Main Street from Le Rosier, says the site has the potential to play an important role in the revitalization under way in downtown New Iberia. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns the Shadows, recently recognized New Iberia's downtown as one of the top five in the country. "We've missed having a restaurant there," Kahle says.
But Kane and Dempsey have quite a reputation to uphold, Kahle says. With owner Hallman Woods II's son, Hallman III, as Le Rosier's chef, the restaurant garnered national attention in the mid-'90s. Food & Wine magazine named the younger Woods one of "America's Best New Chefs" among only eight from New York to San Francisco. "It was wonderful," Kahle says.
While the menu is not finalized, Kane wants the restaurant's fare to range from regional southern American to Spanish and Italian dishes. "We've been toying with that off and on," he says. Tables will be added to the porch, which overlooks the building's signature gardens, making al fresco dining a feature of the B&B. Including outdoor dining, the restaurant can accommodate about 60 guests, and a back dining space for up to 40 will be offered for special functions.
Kane's background is electronics industry sales, though he's quite versed in the kitchen, and Dempsey's is journalism (she's a contributing writer to The Independent Weekly), but she shares Kane's passion for food and cooking. For a couple of years in the early 1990s, Kane worked alongside then-Prejean's award-winning Chef James Graham, later managed Clee Dunning's Gordon Square kitchen for several years, and from 2002 to early this year worked with Bentley Suire at The Filling Station downtown, a job that led him to Le Rosier.
When they set out to find an operator, the Groners approached Suire, who told Kane and Dempsey about the opportunity. The Groners had moved into the 1870s structure, which they purchased from attorney Woods, after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Lili in late 2002. They could not find the time to redevelop the restaurant; David is an attorney, and Carolyn is the food and beverage director at Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, where she also manages the fine dining establishment Mr. Lester's Steakhouse.
The home was originally built by the Koch family, and it was Woods who added the B&B rooms in the back of the house, bringing the total square footage of the two buildings to about 7,000. The Groners redecorated the guest rooms, giving each its own color scheme and identity with appointments like Turkish cotton towels, down comforters, antiques and original works of art. "Each one is very different," Dempsey says. "Carolyn has a genius for decorating. She's created rooms that make you feel like you're staying in the opulent home of a gracious friend."
Kane and Dempsey are taking over the Groners' living quarters and have already hired a local marketing specialist, Debbey Ryan of Prescriptive Marketing.
The couple is banking on success resulting from full-time devotion to the property, in addition to proximity to several tourist destinations, like the Shadows, Konriko Rice Mill and Avery Island/Tabasco. "[New Iberia's] tourism has increased in the last couple of years," Kane says. "Le Rosier is an established brand; it's a recognized name."
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Fifa under fire for fake turf plans; freed journalist back home; corporate conversions rising and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.
Seven of the 11 U.S. cities in a new ranking of “most dangerous diets” are in the Bayou and Lone Star states, but the ranking is more about poverty than fried oysters.
Lafayette police are investigating a fatal shooting involving an alleged burglar and homeowner.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
With qualifying over, the start of campaign season is official, and for the Lafayette Parish School Board, the race toward Nov. 4 will pit 20 candidates in battles for all 9 of the district’s available seats.
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election Friday the same as any other candidate, filling out paperwork and handing over cash to pay his qualifying fee. But he finished it quite differently, doused with ice.
The recent release of Victor White III’s autopsy report could spell trouble, as it tells a much different story of his death than the one told five months ago by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power.”
Over the last four days of the trial against attorney Daniel Stanford, there’s been one notable absence from Judge Elizabeth Foote’s courtroom: attorney Bill Goode.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.