By: Susan Benton
Faubourg Marigny was once a viable plantation inherited by Bernard De Marigny upon his fathers’ death. Subdivided into small home site parcels to pay for Bernard’s gambling debts, it is now simply known to the locals as The Marigny, (pronounced “mari-in-knee”). Bernard Marigny famously named the streets of this neighborhood whimsically, by calling some Peace, History, Poets, Frenchman Greatmen, Music, Love and Craps (after the game of chance he introduced to America after a visit to England). This New Orleans multi cultural neighborhood sits adjacent to the French Quarter and is popular with the city’s natives due to its live music scene, bars and great local food.
The self-taught Executive Chef and Partner of South Walton’s newest Creole restaurant, The Marigny, is Chris Mongogna. Chris’s passion is to serve the same kind of Southern Country, New Orleans Classic and Italian Inspired cuisines he grew up on in the crescent city when being mentored by his mother and grandmother’s, while cooking his first meal of red beans and rice at the age of thirteen.
“Bernard De Marigny was an interesting and colorful man. My Partner Jason and I felt like The Marigny name was the perfect fit for our restaurant, due to its tucked back location near Hogtown Bayou, our heritage, and the food and culture we wanted to bring to Santa Rosa Beach. We grew up hanging out there,” Chris explains. When asked how the partnership came to be and why the location, Jason says,” We literally couldn’t find a good Po-Boy boy in town! I originally thought we would open a take out and delivery only authentic Po-Boy shop, but Chris lived near the site of the available restaurant, showed me the location, and I thought it was not what I signed up for. He convinced me!”
Like Marigny’s “old school” neighborhood in New Orleans, the recipes and traditions of several generations have been reunited on plates served at The Marigny-Pure Creole. A family friendly restaurant with a party style atmosphere, it is the perfect place to relax and delight in incredible Creole food while enjoying the fellowship of others.
Although their restaurant is less than a year old, the owners (also best friends from high school) are not new to the area. Chris was a chef at Restaurant Fire in New Orleans before moving to Santa Rosa Beach in 2007 (post Katrina) to help launch Fire at Gulf Place (now Messina’s), taking the position of Executive Chef.
In their collaboration, Executive Chef Chris Mongogna creates genuine New Orleans-style fare such as Shrimp Creole, Poutine, Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, Charbroiled Oysters, Trout Meuniere, Gumbo, Po’ Boys made fresh on Leidenheimer bread, and their house special of Grits & Grillades to name a few. Chris says, “I could eat the Poutine for lunch five days a week. Jason and I high-five over the Jambalaya!”
The Marigny serves meals intended for sharing amongst friends and family, just as the proprietors do in their own homes. The menu items are made from scratch in house with the love, pride and soul that keep this Louisiana cuisine unique and pure.
Managing partner, Jason Jaume, has an extensive background in the restaurant, bar and hospitality industry, and brings his own flavor to an already unique destination. As a father of six, Jason understands the importance of parents needing a place to enjoy dining and socializing with other adults while having a safe and entertaining atmosphere for kids to hang out. Chef Chris’s two tween daughters’ also participate in the restaurant, and enjoy stuffing the artichokes, another house specialty.
The Marigny offers daily menu specials; exclusive Saint’s Game televised events, and a reservation preferred Jazz Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with complimentary champagne per entrée ordered.
The Marigny is located at 306 Bald Eagle Drive in Santa Rosa Beach, Fl 32459 off Highway 98. They can be reached by phone at (850) 622-9101. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Pending weather conditions the outside bar is open until 12:00a.m. For more information please visit their website at http://themarignysrb.com.
Photos: Susan Benton
Susan Benton is the owner of 30AEATS.com and partner in GulfCoastRestaurants.com, where she shares her passion for food and travel, and her commitment to promoting local farmers, fisherman, chefs, artisans and the best restaurants along the Gulf Coast.