NEW ORLEANS — Barbara Chifici, the matriarch of the family that owns and operates the popular Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants has died.
The Chifici Family released the following statement:
Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants Owner was 77
The Chifici Family, owners of New Orleans restaurant group Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants, has announced the passing of their mother, Barbara “Mrs. Barbara” Anselmo Chifici. Mrs. Chifici, 77, the matriarch of the independent family-owned restaurant group, died late Saturday at Ochsner Medical Center in Kenner from complications due to Coronavirus.
Mrs. Chifici leaves behind seven children and a deep legacy in the New Orleans culinary world. She also had a successful real estate practice for many years.
“My mom was an inspiration to generations of culinarians and hospitality workers,” second-eldest son and General Manager Darren Chifici said. “She instilled a genuine sense of hospitality, quality, family and pride into everything she did.”
Mrs. Chifici came from a large extended Italian family of New Orleans restaurateurs, where she learned the rigorous demands of running and owning family restaurants. The Chifici family celebrated 38 years as owners and operators of Deanie’s Seafood in April 2020, having built a locally owned business that employed nearly 300 employees and served more than 1 million guests annually at their three restaurants.
Known for its classic Southern fried seafood, including the Giant Seafood Platter, and boiled seafood, Deanie’s became a local favorite that garnered national attention. The restaurant was recognized year after year among New Orleans’ best seafood restaurants and featured on numerous Travel Channel and Food Network programs.
Mrs. Barbara was awarded an American Culinary Federation New Orleans’ Outstanding Foodservice Professional Award in 2013, and had been sought to judge culinary competitions throughout the country during her career. She remained a fixture at the restaurants until the coronavirus pandemic began last spring.
Mrs. Chifici married her late husband Frank Chifici in 1963, and the couple operated two restaurants, Chifici’s Restaurant in the Central Business District and Gramboli’s in Metairie, before purchasing Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant & Seafood Market in Bucktown in 1982. Mrs. Chifici was widowed in 1985 after Frank passed away following an 18-month illness.
In 2001, Mrs. Chifici opened the second Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant located at the corner of Iberville and Dauphine streets in the French Quarter. Deanie’s Sea Food Kitchen, located at 2200 Magazine St. in Uptown New Orleans, opened in 2018.
Five of her seven children were involved in the operations of the restaurants; and a sixth is a restaurateur in Mandeville. In addition to her children, she leaves behind 12 grandchildren, two brothers and sister-in-law.
She was current president and a longtime member of the Elenian Club of New Orleans, a philanthropic group of women who are of Italian descent.
Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Chifici have not yet been made.