An all-new restaurant – Lucille’s Family Kitchen – Fine casual, delicious comfort food in a family-friendly environment with karaoke every night. Sing while you dine!
Lucille was born in 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She grew up in the Faubourg Marigny – a neighborhood next to the French Quarter. Lucille had a passion for music at a young age. She practiced the piano every day. When she needed a new song to learn, she’d take requests. Within a week, she’d surprise them by playing their song perfectly.
Lucille’s love for piano lasted into her young adulthood. During the years of Prohibition, she moved into a small house in the French Quarter on Dauphine St. She was quickly hired as an entertainer where she would play the piano and sing in the Speakeasies of New Orleans.
Lucille had an infectious smile that attracted everyone. In her 20’s and 30’s, she fell in love with the culinary arts. She was a frequent guest in multiple kitchens in the French Quarter. Using her charm, she learned recipes and techniques from well-known chefs. She began to come up with her own recipes.
When Prohibition ended in 1934, the Bourbon Street music clubs were born in New Orleans. This led to Lucille being hired as the entertainer at Hyp Guinley’s “Famous Door” – an exciting new piano bar on 341 Bourbon Street. This is where she met the love of her life, Frank Buscallano, who shared Lucille’s love for people, fantastic music, and fun.
Frank was the top nightclub operator in Metairie for those decades. He mentored many future hospitality professionals in the area. His business was the favorite hang-out center of the New Orleans Mobsters. They would all hop over to Frank’s nightclub after dinner at the Italian restaurant next door. The Mobsters loved the music of Louis Prima and Dean Martin – Frank’s house band would play perfectly every night. The Mobsters were incredibly appreciative and treated Frank’s place and its employees with the highest level of respect.
Lucille and Frank married at the Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson’s Square. Shortly after, they moved to Metairie. Lucille switched to working part-time at the famous Wembly Tie Company in New Orleans. She always picked out the latest ties for her handsome Frank who was a very sharp-dressed man. Frank and Lucille never had any children.
The couple’s home became the go-to spot for their community: people from all walks of life. Nobody ever used the front door of their house. Everybody went around back and entered through the back door leading straight to the kitchen. The door was never locked. Even though the house was Frank and Lucille’s, the kitchen was truly Lucille’s Kitchen – she was always the boss.
Frank’s musicians would visit their home and have impromptu jam sessions. There were famous names like Louie, Sam, Johnny, Sal, Spool, and “Little Johnny” – Frank’s favorite drummer who was only 18. When Lucille could find a replacement at the piano, she would ease back to the kitchen and continue to cook for everyone with her favorite Bourbon in hand.
Frank’s Mobster nightclub customers eventually found their way to the house too. In Lucille’s Kitchen, everybody was equal. They all ate, drank, and sang together. They smiled and laughed with each other, and “business” was never discussed. There were never any differences; they all loved Lucille’s food and the incredible music. Even “Fat Johnny”, Frank’s club doorman, would often be seen at the door of their Kitchen, reminding everybody of the “rules”.
With the recipes Lucille picked up from the chefs she met in the French Quarter, she came up with her own ingredients and flavor. Everybody loved her cooking. Sometimes, local purveyors would give her products. Lucille, with the help of her friends, would cook for over 100 people, including the purveyors. Block parties just magically happened with all of Frank’s musicians showing up to play. This is when people used to party face-to-face without social media in the mix. There were exchanges of thousands of stories, singing, eating, drinking, and partying. The block parties were so much fun. They became very famous in Metairie for over 35 years.
Lucille’s beloved Frank passed away in 1982. The solemn event was followed by one of the largest New Orleans Jazz funerals that anyone had ever seen. Dozens of musicians appeared and played their instruments to say goodbye to their beloved friend and boss. Frank was the last of the great club operators in Metairie. Lucille mourned for a short period. Then, she grabbed a Bourbon and got right back to her Kitchen. She loved her Kitchen and her friends almost as much as she loved her husband. About three years later, Lucille passed away at 84 and went to be with Frank.
Lucille and Frank’s legacy will never be forgotten and will carry on forever. This restaurant is dedicated to serving as a living memorial to Lucille and Frank.
We suggest and request that while spending time here at Lucille’s, everybody in your party puts away their cell phones, stays off social media, and enjoys each other’s company – the way everybody did at Frank and Lucille’s house! You will be happily surprised at what will happen.
May their spirit of hospitality, food, and fun live on forever!
Welcome to Lucille’s Kitchen!