Brennan's - New Orleans

Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans has been proudly serving the Creole and Cajun cuisine that Louisiana is known for, since 1946. They serve up traditional Cajun/Creole style food including several seafood dishes, gumbo, turtle soup and their own creation, Bananas Foster. Their great service and atmosphere as well as their ability to consistently make excellent cuisine for the region have allowed the Brennan family to continue to grow the family of restaurants to cities across the country.  

Louisiana’s Creole & Cajun Cuisine
Though once considered separate cuisines for upper and lower class, Creole and Cajun cooking have evolved together and blended cooking techniques, styles, and ingredients over time. Louisiana has been a melting pot for several cultures and influences: Native American, French, Spanish, German, English, African and Italian influences are found in this region. The French influence is very strong in New Orleans—foods like beignets and chicory coffee are very popular, but they have adapted these foods to make them uniquely their own. For example, the traditional mirepoix of onion, carrot, and celery has been adapted to include green bell peppers instead of carrots. To thicken sauces and stews, it’s more common to use a dark roux made with animal fat instead of a lighter roux made with butter. Typically, this region is known for a lot of one-pot meals with rich, bold flavors and a lot of spices—Tabasco sauce was created in New Orleans. A lot of seafood such as oysters, crawfish, and shrimp is found in Cajun/Creole cuisine. You will also find several rice dishes such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, dirty rice, and hoppin’ John. Since this area is near the bayou, alligator and turtle meat have been considered a specialty of Cajun cuisine. Gumbo is a great symbol of the regional cuisine. It is made of many ingredients and spices that blend together nicely and are bold and exciting—like Louisianan’s diverse backgrounds and their exciting culture.

Brennan’s History
Owen Brennan is the founder of Brennan’s in New Orleans. Owen grew up in New Orleans with his parents and was the oldest of six children. He attempted to make his fortune in different industries and eventually became quite successful as the bar owner of The Old Absinthe House (which has an interesting history). He was able to please customers with exciting drink creations, a welcoming atmosphere and overall good customer service.

In July of 1946, Owen leased the Vieux Carre Restaurant on Bourbon street (later moved to Royal Street), and named it after himself. Owen’s restaurant was an instant success. He had knowledge of French food and fine wine and that helped him compete with some of New Orleans best French and Creole restaurants. Owen passed away in 1955 and his sister Ella took over the business later to be acquisitioned by his three sons who wanted to honor their father’s legacy. The Brennan family has expanded, and opened restaurants in Las Vegas, Anaheim, Memphis, Destin, Florida and Houston (though this location was destroyed by a fire in 2008). All locations have stayed in the Brennan family and kept customers happy with the Cajun/Creole cuisine that made the original restaurant such a success.

Signature Dishes
Bananas Foster is the most notable of Brennan’s creations. This dessert is popular all over the country and served in a variety of ways (you can even get a version at Denny’s). In 1951, Chef Paul Blange invented this dish and named it after Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan and a regular customer at the restaurant. New Orleans was an important port for bananas coming in overseas and the tourism commission wanted to find a way to promote bananas and asked Brennan’s to create a dish that could support the import. Owen Brennan had always supported the New Orleans tourist commission and was happy to oblige. Banana’s are cooked in a mixture of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, rum and banana liqueur, then they  flambé the dessert tableside and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The show is impressive, but the deliciously sweet and rich flavor is what makes people keep coming back for more.

Another Brennan’s creation, also by Chef Paul Blange, is the Eggs Hussard. This dish is one of the reasons Breakfast at Brennan’s is so popular. Eggs Hussard is listed on the menu as “Poached eggs atop Holland rusks, Canadian bacon and Marchand de Vin sauce, topped with Hollandaise sauce.” A rusk is a double baked bread that is light and crispy—the texture of a biscotti with the shape of an English muffin half. Marchand de vin sauce is a rich butter sauce made with onions, brown gravy, and red wine; a truly decadent and rich meal that embraces the rich, bold flavors of Creole cuisine.

I had the opportunity to eat breakfast at Brennan’s in 2004 and had the most unforgettable breakfast. The restaurant was welcoming and fun—and the food was incredible. Their classic Creole cuisine and drinks genuinely embraced the local culture and enhanced my New Orleans experience.


Works Cited

"History." Brennan's Restaurant. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. <>.

Nenes, Michael F. "Louisiana's Cajun and Creole Cuisine." American Regional Cuisine. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley, 2007. Print.

Beggs, Cindy, Bridget Gibson, and Sherrie Shaw. "Cajun and Creole Cuisine." University of West Florida. 07 Dec. 1996. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. <>.