Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cajun and Creole restaurant was an American institution.

By Maria Yagoda
July 13, 2020
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The iconic New Orleans restaurant K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, which has been shut down since May, announced on Monday morning that it will be permanently closing its doors.

Chef Paul Prudhomme With Jambalaya Outside K-Paul's, April 1990
| Credit: Owen Franken / Getty Images

Founded by chef Paul Prudhomme and his wife, Kay Hinrichs, in 1979, the restaurant is credited with helping put New Orleans on the culinary map. "With gratitude for many happy and successful years, the management team of K-Paul's is regretfully announcing permanent closure of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen," read the statement.

Paul Prudhomme, who died in 2015, oversaw the charming Chartres Street restaurant for decades, sparking a national interest in Cajun cooking with his popular takes on gumbo, etouffée, and blackened redfish. His seasoning brand, Chef Paul's Magic Seasoning Blends, will continue to operate.

Chef Paul Prudhomme, June 1978
| Credit: Glen Martin / Getty Images

"We have been blessed and honored to serve our customers who have become family through shared stories, breaking bread with jalapeño cheddar yeast rolls and raised martini glasses," said Brenda Prudhomme, Paul's niece and executive chef at K-Paul's since 2015. "We will also treasure the memories of all of our amazing staff members over the years, knowing that they will carry a piece of K-Paul’s with them for the rest of their careers.”

K-Paul's is one of the many beloved restaurants around the country to recently announce its closure due to COVID-19. This weekend, New York City diner Odessa announced it would be closing after 26 years in the East Village, citing a significant loss of business over the past few months. Other high-profile closures have included McCrady's in Charleston, Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City, and Blackbird in Chicago, among thousands of other restaurants that haven't made the news.

Credit: Vespasian / Alamy Stock Photo

While the K-Paul's statement didn't explicitly acknowledge the financial impact of the pandemic, restaurants across the country are grappling with how they'll be able to reopen or stay open. The Independent Restaurant Coalition predicts that 85% of the country’s independent restaurants will close by 2021 due to financial strains caused by COVID-19.

"If the restaurant you love is reopening, it’s because they’ve managed to pull off a massive Hail Mary," wrote F&W Deputy Editor Mel Hansche in her story on running a restaurant in 2020. "Chances are they’ve had to lay off some or all of their staff. Like us, they might have been working 14-hour days, seven days a week to keep the lights on with an entirely different business model. And now every restaurant is fighting to survive with reduced seats, reduced sales, and less staff."

According to the restaurant's statement, the K-Paul's building will be for sale.