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Old-new BernadettesContinuing the trend started in last week’s blog post, this post will focus on another excellent example of adaptive reuse in Ascension Parish, Louisiana: Bernadette’s Restaurant. Founded in 2008, Bernadette’s is a relatively new fine dining establishment on the grounds of The Cabin Restaurant, a favorite in the hearts of locals and visitors for more than 40 years. Below is a description of the restaurant written a few years back by some of the restaurant’s founders:

For those familiar with the antique, rustic atmosphere of the Cabin, the aesthetic appeal of Bernadette’s is that of a more historic elegance. Circa 1840 interior architecture features beautiful exposed brick walls, original cypress and pine floors, two original fireplaces and antique furniture and fixtures throughout. The building was moved to its current location from its original site at Home Place Plantation in Convent, Louisiana and was renovated and restored by the Robert family.

Joel Robert, with the help of his folks (Al & Theresa Robert, founder of the The Cabin) founded Bernadette’s in 2008. Robert grew up working in The Cabin, which ingrained the restaurant business in his blood. After he went to college, Joel became involved with the fine dining business when approached by Kevin Kelly, owner of Houmas House. He realized the restaurant buisess was for him, and a fine-dining establishment was something he wanted to build.

Kevin gave Joel the opportunity to get his feet wet in the fine dining business by asking him to help design, build, and open Kevin’s restaurant, Latils Landing. This set in the realization that Robert could not compromise the vision and expectations that he had for his ideal fine dining restaurant, which led to a severance in their business relationship and the birth of Bernadette’s.

The restaurant was named Bernadette’s as an homage to Al Robert’s godfather’s mother, Bernadette Troxclair. She was the greatest gourmet cook Joel Robert, Al’s son, has ever known. When Joel was young, his family gravitated to her. Every Sunday, holiday, or excuse for good food and cherry bounce, scores of family and friends were surrounding her. Her creations were consisted of indigenous Creole or Cajun cuisine raised to a new level. She was a wonderful woman well ahead of her time in the culinary world.

Bernadette's Interior

Taken by Ray Baker of Roving Photography

Bernadette’s is the epitomy of fine dining. The decor consists of the finest antique furniture, drapes, and fixtures. The menus feature a fine dining Cajun/French fusion cuisine. Menus for the restaurant’s signature five-course and seven-course meals are featured weekly, accompanied by wine pairings. A seasonal menu of distinctive a-la-carte selections is also available, along with an extensive wine list for even the finest palette that offers a wide range of selection from Cristal to 1976 Warres Port.

Bernadette’s Executive Chef is Gerard Hemery, a native of Brittany, France, who was born and raised in the quarters above his family’s restaurant. He brings to the restaurant a breadth of experience from a lifelong career in the culinary arts. A graduate of the Culinary Institute in Switzerland, Chef Hemery’s extensive industry background includes experience in some of the finest restaurants in both Paris and New York City.

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