Comforting and Cozy Restaurants – MYNEWORLEANS.COM

In fall, comforting meals served in cozy environments just seem to fit the season. Scattered around Uptown are several places that satisfy this urge, among them Dick & Jenny’s and Martinique Bistro.

Both are owned by business partners Kelly Barker and Cristiano Raffignone, who purchased Dick & Jenny’s several months back in a fortuitous bit of kismet, according to their executive chef Lyndsay Mason.

“We initially wanted to bring Cristiano’s (their Italian restaurant in Houma) to New Orleans,” Mason says. “So we started with a Christiano’s pop-up once a week at Martinique’s for six months. Then we learned that Dick & Jenny’s was for sale and it was a perfect fit.”

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Dick & Jenny’s restaurant gets Italian makeover as new owners expand presence in New Orleans – NOLA.COM

New Orleans diners who visited Dick & Jenny’s restaurant for rustic Louisiana cuisine need to brush up on their Italian. The popular Uptown restaurant, which changed hands in May, is getting a menu makeover that will mix North Italian items with the restaurant’s tried-and-true regional offerings.

Chef Stacy Hall remains in the kitchen, but she’ll be working closely with chef Lindsay Mason of Cristiano Ristorante, Lounge & Wine Boutique in Houma to craft a new menu.

The change was directed by Dick & Jenny’s new owners — Kelly Barker and Cristiano Raffignone — who operate both the Houma establishment and Martinique Bistro in New Orleans. The pair have been seeking opportunities to expand in New Orleans. They hope to build on the popularity of their Houma restaurant and of Martinique Bistro.

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The owners of Martinique Bistro buy Dick & Jenny’s restaurant – NOLA.COM

M. Cristiano Raffignone and Kelly Barker have been scouting properties for months, looking for a location to open a New Orleans branch of Cristiano’s Ristorante, their Italian restaurant in Houma.

On Tuesday night, they closed on a property. But it won’t be Cristiano’s.

Raffignone and Barker bought Dick & Jenny’s, the 14-year-old Uptown restaurant known for its casual vibe and refined but eclectic cuisine.

The buyers, who also own Martinique Bistro on Magazine Street, say they don’t plan to change anything at first. Dick & Jenny’s recipes and its staff, including chef Stacy Hall, are staying put, Barker said Wednesday afternoon.

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Houma restaurant owners expand their New Orleans offerings – HOUMATODAY.COM

The owners of Houma’s Cristiano Ristorante are now the owners of Dick and Jenny’s in New Orleans.

Business partners Cristiano Raffignone and Kelly Barker took control of the Uptown restaurant on Tchoupitoulas Street at the end of May.

The two also own Martinique Bistro on Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans.

The duo said they were in the market for a place to bring the Italian cuisine of Cristiano Restorante to Uptown New Orleans after the success of “pop-ups” they have been doing at Martinique since January.

These events took place on Monday nights when Magazine Street’s Martinique Bistro was typically closed and gave uptown diners the chance to dine from Cristiano’s menu.

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New Orleans pop-up restaurants stage crab boils and white linen feasts – NOLA.COM

Pop-up restaurants can be anything – and that’s the attraction for New Orleans chefs testing fresh ideas, seeking new customers, or simply looking for a break from the routine of established kitchens. New Orleans diners also have jumped on the concept, prowling social media sites for information about the temporary restaurants, which “pop up” in settings as disparate as bed and breakfast parlors, corner bars, and the Fair Grounds infield.

Some chefs even set up in existing restaurants on nights when those dining rooms are typically closed.

Here are four remarkably different pop-ups that recently came to our attention.

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NOLA Apptitude: Daily Specials At Your Fingertips – NOLAVIE.COM

After 33 years in the restaurant business, Tony Tocco knows something about what clients want.

At 27, the Tulane grad started Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge (“back then, there was no parking lot and a crack house across the street”) and has worked front-of-house in such stellar NOLA eateries as Gautreau’s, Upperline and Bayonna. Six years ago, he and his wife Rachel Jaffe Tocco bought Atchafalaya on Louisiana Avenue.

“I’m always asking people, ‘What brought you here?’” says Tocco, now 48. “And seven out of 10 say yelp. And six out of 10 are using it to pollinate their opinion. Crowd sourcing of opinion will always be around, but I thought, ‘There’s gotta be a better way.’”

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Chefs Making Culinary Waves in Acadiana – MYNEWORLEANS.COM

Executive Chef Lindsay Mason of Cristiano Ristorante comes from “a cooking family.” His South Louisiana grandparents cooked, and his mother served meals six days a week, leaving Sunday as a “fend-for-yourself” day. Mason didn’t expect to enter the restaurant business – he received college scholarships for art – but in high school he worked in Thibodaux restaurants and caught the culinary bug.

“I loved food early on,” he says.

He’s been in the business for 16 years now, with seven years at Cristiano Ristorante Lounge and Wine Boutique, following stints at Fremin’s, Café Milano and the Bayou Country Club, plus a quick gig offshore. He not only helms the kitchen at Cristiano’s in Houma, but also its sister restaurant Dick and Jenny’s on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans. Cristiano’s specializes in Italian cuisine while Dick and Jenny’s menu veers toward South Louisiana dishes.

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Joffrey Ballet was en pointe for the BRAVO’s ‘Gala des Etoiles – NOLA.COM

Seating was limited, as most of the gala took place on stage. Champagne and hors d’oeuvres were served to kick off the evening, followed by a 30-minute performance by Joffrey Ballet dancers of excerpts of works from choreographers such as George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Edwaard Liang, Stanton Welch, Lar Lubovitch, and Christopher Wheeldon. NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance students then helped lead patrons to their seats.

Now adjusted to their on-stage vantage point, guests were then treated to the curtain rising and revealing area for a seated dining and silent auction, which extended out over the orchestra section. A seated dinner commenced, showcasing culinary flavors from Martinique Bistro, Dick and Jenny’s and Cristiano restaurants (with the dinner directed by Cristiano Raffignone and Kelly Barker). Alas, as dance was a focus, it wasn’t too soon after that one could see dance fans pursuing their own choreographed moves to music from the Boogie Men.

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