Better than it was before Katrina

We Think So

A New Orleans Institution

The Camellia Grill was first opened on December 19, 1946 by a New Orleans Family and it lasted for 3 generations. From the day it opened, the Camellia Grill served it’s classic diner fare with a style and grace unlike any other. It reigned as king for many years until Hurricane Katrina. Despite suffering little damage, and much to the local’s displeasure, Camellia was shuttered following this devastating storm.

During this long period of closure, local residents and tourists alike plastered the icon’s front door with letters pleading for it to reopen. Finally, after months of being closed, the fabled eatery was purchased and reopened by local restaurateur Hicham Kodr. As soon as the restaurant opened its’ doors to the hungry crowds, it was serving up it’s famous grub like it had never skipped a beat.

THE BIGGEST MELTING POT OF NEW ORLEANS CULTURE IN ONE PLACE

This modern day melting pot was way ahead of its time and proudly boasts of its reputation for hiring African Americans at a time when racial tensions were high. The Camellia Grill was the first restaurant in New Orleans to hire African Americans to work in front of house, and to this day still prides itself on promoting from within.

This progressive mindset has set the stage for what is still one of the biggest melting pots of New Orleans culture in the entire city. On any given day you might find famous rock stars, politicians, poor people, students, cops end even robbers. It’s a place to get to know your neighbors and to be a part of the real New Orleans.

Take the Streetcar straight to heaven

THE ONE & ONLY

Harry Tervalon

The story of the Camellia Grill wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the late Harry Tervalon, a fixture on the night shift for almost fifty years. The apotheosis of a Camellia Grill waiter, he set the style for the place, and will for many years to come. Any poll seeking the best New Orleans waiter of all time would elect Harry in a landslide.

“EVEN KATRINA COULDN’T STOP US”

– Tom Fitzmorris

The Camellia Grill was opened in 1946 by the New Orleans family. From the outset the place had gentility and class. Its reputation became so great that after its golden age ended (in the 1990s), newcomers often wondered what the big deal was all about. When the place failed to reopen for many months after the hurricane, the place was covered with love notes begging it to reopen. Finally, restaurateur Hicham Khodr bought it from the third-generation owner, performed a deep renovation of the kitchen (but not the cherished dining room), and reopened the place in April 2007 to mobs of customers.

The Camellia Grill accumulated hundreds of love letters in the form of Post-It notes on its façade in the over 20 months of its closing.

(top) New owner Hicham Khodr, Harry Tervalon, and a city councilman prepare to cut the ribbon during opening remarks.

(right) New owner Hicham Khodr, Harry Tervalon, and a city councilman prepare to cut the ribbon during opening remarks.

Privileged citizens of New Orleans enjoy the first food off of the grill in 20 months.

(top) A waiter presents a customer with a straw after the classic chocolate freezes are served.

(right) New Orleans Police Department Captain Warren Riley was present to witness the re-opening of the diner, and to enjoy a meal.

The traditional linen napkins have reappeared at the Camellia Grill, keeping more than a touch of class.

(top) Much of the wait staff from pre-Katrina Camellia Grill is also back. Everyone was in especially good spirits.

(right) Love notes once again dotted the façade of the diner during the first meal of the day.

Ronnie Jaeger

Ronnie has been the manager of the Camellia Grill for xx years…

Ronnie Jaeger

Ronnie has been the manager of the Camellia Grill for xx years…

Ronnie Jaeger

Ronnie has been the manager of the Camellia Grill for xx years…

Come on In!

Sunday – Thursday

8AM – 12AM

Friday and Saturday

8AM – 2AM

Contact

Phone

(504) 309-2679

Address

626 S Carrollton Ave,
New Orleans, LA 70118