Can you settle a discussion between my co-workers and me? Mother's Restaurant is a staple for visitors to our city as well as some locals. Everyone has the impression that it's been there forever, and the restaurant claims to have been founded in 1938. However, a bellman at my hotel is adamant that the location on Poydras and Tchoupitoulas streets used to be a Fuddruckers restaurant into the 1980s. Has Mother's always been in its current spot?
Mother's Restaurant at 401 Poydras St. has been there since 1938. But in 1984, a newcomer by the name of Fuddruckers came to New Orleans and took up residence at 401 Tchoupitoulas St., just a block away from Mother's. Gov. Edwin Edwards and his then-wife Elaine were the first customers.
Fuddruckers claims to make the world's greatest hamburger, and patrons can order a burger with a pound of meat. Mother's, on the other hand, makes no hamburgers at all. The eatery makes po-boys of all types, however, including fried seafood. It also serves New Orleans staples such as gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, red beans and rice, fried chicken, salads, soups, pies and breakfasts.
The original owners of Mother's were Simon and Mary Landry, who took over a Greek sandwich shop at that location. Mary became the "mother" in the name. The large Landry family served po-boys to longshoremen and laborers, newspaper employees, attorneys and, during World War II, U.S. Marines. In 1986, Jerry and John Amato bought the restaurant from the Landrys' sons, Jacques and Eddie. The po-boy tradition continued, and the menu expanded.
Fuddruckers on Tchoupitoulas Street closed in 1988, but today is at Harrah's New Orleans — and still specializes in hamburgers, but not po-boys.