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."
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Times Square impersonator crackdown; Israel shells Gaza school; Russia hit with sanctions and more national and international news for Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.