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Ruth's Return Ruth's Chris Steak House (www.ruthschris.com) plans to return to New Orleans through an arrangement with Harrah's New Orleans Casino and will open a new restaurant in the gaming company's downtown hotel as early as May. The international steakhouse chain is now working on plans to convert the ground-floor space in Harrah's Hotel occupied by the restaurant Riche into what Ruth's Chris CEO Craig Miller describes as a "flagship" location for the company. The restaurant will have outdoor seating along the Fulton Street pedestrian mall, as well as banquet rooms. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and possibly Sunday brunch. Miller says the agreement with Harrah's gives the steakhouse the option to locate to a larger space along the Fulton Street corridor in the future, although he says there are no immediate plans to do so. Ruth's Chris reopened its Metairie location (3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 888-3600) a few months after Hurricane Katrina, but the company's original location in Mid-City remains shuttered. Ruth's Chris still owns that North Broad Street property, and Miller says the company plans to donate it to an as-yet-unnamed philanthropic group. Ruth's Chris relocated its headquarters from Metairie to the Orlando, Fla., area immediately after Katrina, and Miller says the company has no plans to move its corporate base back to the New Orleans area. Ruth's Chris continues to grow around the world. In February, the company opened its second restaurant in Utah and its first in Aruba, bringing the total number of Ruth's Chris locations to 119. Creole Connection Local chef Trent Rapps opened a new restaurant in the Warehouse District called the Creole Skillet (200 Julia St, 304-6318; www.thecreoleskillet.com), taking over the former location of True Brew Coffeehouse, which did not reopen after Hurricane Katrina. Originally from Alabama, Rapps helped open Austin's and New City Grille, both in Metairie, before he and his wife Betsy came up with the plan for their own restaurant. His menu features contemporary Creole dishes with plenty of modern Cajun touches. The Creole Skillet is open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and dinner Tue.-Sat. Taking Flight in Kenner Jeff Domangue has opened a new fine dining restaurant, Pellicano Ristorante (4224 Williams Blvd., 467-2930; www.pellicanoristorante.com), next to the Vintage Wine Store in Kenner. The chef is Christopher Cody and his menu takes a fusion approach to Asian, French and Italian cuisines with a healthy dose of local seafood. Pellicano Ristorante is open for dinner Tue.-Sun. — McNulty

Got a tip for Food News? Email Ian McNulty at imcnulty@cox.net.

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