A New Look for The Big Easy

Chef Donald Link of New Orleans restaurants Herbsaint, Cochon and Peche consulted on concepts, recipes and sourcing for the Convention Center update.
Classic comfort food gets an upgrade with fresh grilled cheese at Bakery & Grilled Cheese.
Colorful new signs featuring jazz themes and imagery from the city help liven the space.
A New Orleans Favorite: classic Po'Boys

Updating New Orleans Convention Center Hospitality

For a town known for its food and lively atmosphere, the dining concourse at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was neither. The dismal, concrete space offered little in the way of legendary Creole flavor, with offerings that screamed generic and hit a low note for guest satisfaction. The client turned to Centerplate to re-imagine the space to make it sing for visitors to the city.

Centerplate brought in our culinary and design teams to jazz up the space in concert with celebrated local businesses and culture, bringing better returns to the client.

  • Renovated the space to create a more vibrant visual setting, with menu boards and signage inspired by a New Orleans street festival
  • Created concepts that reflect the local culinary identity
  • Built small business partnerships to showcase local brands, with an investment of more than $2 million in the local economy in the first year
  • Worked with local celebrity chef Donald Link, local businesses and restaurateurs to translate high-quality, authentic signature menu items into the dining environment

The Big Easy’s visitor hospitality is booming, with the upgrade to the hospitality experience at the Convention Center. Average revenues per person increased by 38% in the first year; attendance in the area is also up, with more visitors coming and staying in the space during shows.Benchmarking one popular annual show, post-renovation sales on the first day alone exceed the prior year’s total across all three days.

If you go, don’t miss the signature Catfish Po’ Boy

Fun Fact: With the addition of this remarkable space, Centerplate is proud to serve 6 of the top 10 convention centers in North America.