Former employees of chef/owner Scott Boswell's shuttered Stella! are organizing a pop-up benefit dinner at 6 p.m. July 1 at Three Muses. The high-end French Quarter restaurant's closing caught employees by surprise. Boswell filed for bankruptcy, which will keep Stella! employees from receiving their final paychecks for months. The popup Blanche'd! aims to help employees as they search for new jobs.
Three Muses (536 Frenchmen St., 504-252-4081; www.thethreemuses.com), which is normally dark on Tuesdays, is donating use of its space. Other restaurants are donating food and alcohol.
Former Stella! waiter Jonathan Sanders says if it wasn't for the fact that the kitchen and front-of-house crew were together for so long, it would have been harder to organize the event. Staff discussed making Blanche'd! a recurring pop-up depending on the success of the first event.
Sanders says the benefit has received support from friends and family of the former Stella! workers but that they're hoping to get the general public involved. He's also trying to bring a casual version of Stella! to people who may not have been able to afford the former restaurant's prices. They're also looking to stay positive and have a bit of fun.
"We've thrown around the idea of taking our old Stella! uniforms and cutting holes in them, ripping our aprons and cutting our ties in half," Sanders says. "We just want people to have a good time."
Blanche'd! will operate like a tapas bar with no plates costing more than $10. Dishes tentatively include octopus paella, oxtail po-boys and deviled eggs. The Kentucky Sisters will perform, and Sanders hopes to expand the lineup.
Anyone interested in donating food, alcohol or their time can contact event coordinators through the Facebook page www.facebook.com/formerstellaemployees.