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Where the Chefs Shop 

If you go to a restaurant in town, visit a hotel or eat at a school, chances are you'll be served by a kitchen that's been designed, outfitted or at least has pots, pans and cooking utensils from Loubat Equipment & Co. (4141 Bienville St., 482-2554; www.loubat.com). The company celebrates its 130th anniversary in business this year.

Among its local clientele are famous restaurants such as Galatoire's, Antoine's, Arnaud's, Brennan's, Commander's Palace, Court of Two Sisters, Emeril's, K-Paul's, Mr. B's, Napoleon House, Palace Cafe and a long list of others. Loubat also designs kitchens, sells and installs appliances and even supplies pots, pans, chef's outfits, tableware, ice machines and more for hotel kitchens, school cafeterias, theater concession areas and offshore drilling platforms.

'We're most associated with restaurant supplies, but our markets are much broader than that,' says Christine Briede, president of Loubat, which first opened in 1875. 'We also supply hotels, schools, hospitals and we do offshore galley kitchens,' giving Loubat an international client list.

The focus is commercial, but Loubat also opens its wholesale showroom to the public. 'It's not a big part of our business, but we welcome the home chefs,' she says. 'It's an added lagniappe.' The policy means individuals have access to top-of-the-line equipment at wholesale prices and a larger range of useful items than in a typical department store. Loubat sells everything from teaspoons and pedestal champagne coolers, to commercial blenders and steam tables as well as chairs, barstools and outdoor furniture.

'We represent thousands of different brands,' Briede says. 'We aren't the cheapest, but we have the highest quality brands and the latest items on the market, and we're competitive and reasonable (in price).' Watch for a large sale on ice machines at the end of May and beginning of June. As part of its anniversary celebration, Loubat will hold a coloring contest for kids ages 12 and younger. The winner will win a savings bond and his or her picture will enhance the cover of Loubat's fall catalog. An anniversary party is in the works, but plans haven't been finalized.

click to enlarge The award-winning tableware designs of Villeroy and Boch in innovative shapes in both porcelain and glass are available to commercial kitchens as well as the general public at Loubat.
  • The award-winning tableware designs of Villeroy and Boch in innovative shapes in both porcelain and glass are available to commercial kitchens as well as the general public at Loubat.
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