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Louisiana Eats: Eating History

Poppy Tooker and Horst Pfeifer outside of Middendorf's in Manchac, Louisiana.
Joe Shriner
Louisiana Eats!
Poppy Tooker and Horst Pfeifer outside of Middendorf's in Manchac, Louisiana.

In New Orleans and across our state, we're surrounded by history. Our architecture, museums, and libraries tell us stories of bygone eras. But arguably the best place to get a taste of Louisiana history is in any of our historic restaurants. On this week's show, we look at culinary landmarks that have been dining destinations for generations.

We begin with a visit to Middendorf's, the classic seafood house located in Manchac – a tiny village 40 miles north of New Orleans on Lake Maurepas. Famed for its thin-cut fried catfish, Middendorf's celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Originally owned by three generations of family, it was taken over by Horst and Karen Pfeifer in 2007 after their French Quarter fine dining restaurant was closed due to Katrina. Horst walks us through Middendorf's history, talks about his tenure as owner, and describes how he weathers storms on the Louisiana marsh.

And we discover the storied past of the iconic Vieux Carré landmark the Napoleon House with Chef Chris Montero. Chris gives us a tour of the historic property, from the bar to the cupola and all points in between. In addition to being an accomplished chef, Chris is also a passionate preservationist and historian. He shares two centuries' worth of Girod and Impastato family lore and explains what he's been doing to keep the restaurant's traditions intact.

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.