Red Gravy on Magazine to close, citing staffing, pandemic and hurricane woes

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Red Gravy Cafe, 4206 Magazine St.

Red Gravy Cafe is closing after serving rustic Italian fare on Magazine Street’s restaurant row for less than a year. The last day of business will be Saturday (April 30).

Owner Roseann Rostoker blames bad timing and the combination of the pandemic, staff shortages and Hurricane Ida for the closure.

Rostoker and her husband and business partner, Lou Lombardo, are from New Jersey and Philadelphia, respectively. They moved to New Orleans 10 years ago and opened Red Gravy as a brunch and lunch spot on Camp Street in the Central Business District. It quickly became popular with downtown office workers.

Courtesy of Red Gravy Cafe

Ravioli at Red Gravy

In March 2020, when the pandemic forced people to work from home, Rostoker and Lombardo closed the doors on the Camp Street location and started cooking classic Italian dishes in their kitchen for delivery.

In September 2020, they reopened Red Gravy as a dinner bistro in the spot that housed The Standard at 4206 Magazine St., serving Italian favorites such as lasagna, meatballs and handmade pasta. The new incarnation also offered weekend brunch.

Roseann Rostoker

The closure announcement from Rostoker came on Facebook: “For 10 years, we were just rolling along on Camp St, doing a fabulous brunch business and just living our lives. When Covid hit, we reevaluated our situation, and knowing we’d never last the forecasted 2 year business disruption, decided to move to Magazine St. During every new incarnation of Covid, every new shutdown, every new mandate, every new policy, we just kept pushing and digging deeper and deeper; trying to keep going and keep our magnificent staff employed. Hurricane Ida didn’t help; and instead made a bad situation worse.”

Rostoker stated that she and Lombardo plan to stay in New Orleans.

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