Melvin Rodrigue has dedicated his career to cultivating the tradition and experience of one of America's grandest fine dining institutions - Galatoire's - and showcasing New Orleans as a world-class destination. A Louisiana native, Rodrigue joined Galatoire’s as their chief operating officer in 1997. Today, as the managing partner, he serves as the company’s President & CEO. He has led Galatoire’s to the highest of culinary distinctions, being recognized in 2005, by the James Beard Foundation as the Most Outstanding Restaurant in the United States. Working with Galatoire’s ownership group, Rodrigue opened new doors for guests worldwide to take part in Galatoire’s dining tradition in 1998, through an extensive renovation of the venerable restaurant’s second floor dining room, which had been shuttered since World War II. Growth continued with the 2012 acquisition and subsequent renovation of 215 Bourbon St., unveiling Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak and new private dining spaces for guests, and the 2021 addition of Galerie de Galatoire on Royal Street, a premier space conceived in the Galatoire tradition of fine dining. As part of Galatoire's Centennial in 2005, Rodrigue co-authored the Galatoire's Cookbook to critical acclaim.
Rodrigue is a director of the National Restaurant Association and served as chair of the Board of Directors in 2020. He also has served as a commissioner of the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority since 2005 to present. Rodrigue was appointed chair by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008 and served in this position until 2020. During his leadership, the $650 million New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center increased its reputation as a top location for the nation's premier conventions, special events and meetings, accounting annually for more than $2.1 billion in economic impact and 23,000 jobs. Rodrigue served as the chairman of the Louisiana Restaurant Association in 2012, and continues his work on the association's board of directors. He also sits on the board of directors of the ForeKids Foundation. His previous industry contributions include serving as treasurer of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the marketing force behind drawing more than 18 million leisure travelers to New Orleans each year, and the board of directors of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.
Rodrigue has developed new ways for Galatoire's to connect with the community as a founder and President of The Galatoire Foundation and creating the restaurant's annual Christmas and Mardi Gras table auctions. Launched in 2006, this twice-a-year tradition has raised more than $2.5 million for The Galatoire Foundation and dozens of New Orleans non-profit organizations, as guests bid to reserve a table in Galatoire's famed first floor dining room on the two busiest days of the year, the Fridays before Christmas and Mardi Gras. Rodrigue has been personally honored by Gambit Weekly as an outstanding achiever in the "40 Under 40" business category and as a member of the city's "Power Generation" by New Orleans CityBusiness. Rodrigue lives in New Orleans with his wife, Katy Casbarian, and has four daughters, Caroline, Savanah, Eugenie and Adelaide.
Phillip L. Lopez
A native of New Orleans, Chef Phillip Lopez was born into a military family, traveling the world in his youth. Spending time in Germany, France, Spain, Austria and parts of Asia, Phillip Lopez's international worldview influenced his palate as a chef.
Chef Lopez comes to Galatoire’s with more than two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. Most recently, he served as Executive Chef, Creative Director and Owner of six culinary concepts around New Orleans including Root, Square Root, The Test Kitchen, Petit Lion and Monkey Board. Previously, Lopez spent time at Restaurant August and Michel Richard's Citronelle in Washington, D.C.
In addition, Chef Lopez has earned a number of accolades, including being named “Chef of the Year” by Eater New Orleans, StarChefs’ “Rising Star of New Orleans,” Gambit’s “40 Under 40,” and was nominated three times for Food and Wine magazine’s “People’s Best New Gulf Coast Chef.” He has also been recognized by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine as a “Chef to Watch,” as well as by Bon Appétit magazine.
As General Manager of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak, Billy Clark is responsible for the daily operations of the 118-year-old dining institution and its steakhouse counterpart. A veteran in the hospitality industry, Clark has prepared for his new role by spending more than 30 years at some of New Orleans’ most successful dining establishments. Clark is a lifelong resident of New Orleans. He holds a degree from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of Jesuit High School.