How New Orleans' Dooky Chase restaurant survived pandemic

Stella Reese Chase, Edgar “Dooky” Chase III and Edgar “Dook” Chase IV discuss the challenges they faced as owners of one of the most famous Black-owned businesses in New Orleans.
8:57 | 02/16/21

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Transcript for How New Orleans' Dooky Chase restaurant survived pandemic
Have a wonderful day. That music, you know what it's all about. It's time for mardi gras. New Orleans isn't letting the pandemic despite the canceled parades and they are showing their spirit with yardi gras. They are decorating their homes and their yards like the famous floats that are really cool. We brought yardi gras right here to times square. We're also celebrating mardi gras on this fat Tuesday morning with our series "Open for business" honoring one of the many small businesses pushing forward through the challenges of the pandemic including one of the most famous black owned establishments in New Orleans, dooky chase's restaurant. We'll talk live to that incredible family behind the restaurant in just a minute but first, Lara, give us their back story. Good morning again. Hey, robin. Dooky chase's restaurant, a new Orleans staple for over 80 years through thick and thin, the chase family has served the community good food, such good food with great pride. Take a look. In the heart of New Orleans stands the dooky chase restaurant. This restaurant has been here since 1939 and they may have told stories about satchel Paige coming here of they heard about Muhammad Ali and martin Luther king, John Lewis, I could go on and on. Those big names brought together by this powerful woman. Lea chase, the queen of creole alongside her husband the second Edgar "Dooky" chase called Edgar "Dooky" chase Jr. Serving as a meeting spot for civil rights leadings and gallery for black art hits. Ininterest African people didn't have a place. They created that place because they love people and love the community. This restaurant means everything to our family, you know, it's so much history, so much tradition and it's a place where we always come together. This is a place where we learned how to show that New Orleans Reporter: That hospitality going strong for four generations staying true to lea chase's pioneering vision. We loved her and we shared her with the community. She brought people here from all over not only the country, the world. Pray, work hard and do for others, she would say so we are a family of prayer and certainly did pray hard that all would go well because we didn't want her legacy just to stop. Reporter: The family rallying around that legacy, shifting to take-out. Providing free meals to those in need and now finding a safe way to keep the party going for mardi gras. It has definitely been a time when we had to be flexible, change up how we market, change up how we reach our guest, change up how we serve our guests but what we do want to do is make you feel that same hospitality that you would have gotten before this pandemic as you would get now. Ah, that's so good to hear. They're keeping traditions going with all of their special recipes, just in time for mardi gras. Robin. Oh, always on time. We three members of the dooky chase family joining us from new Orleans. Quarantining together, Edgar "Dooky" chase III, Stella chase Reese and Edgar dook chase IV. Good morning to you all. Good morning. Good morning. All three of us have been there to your restaurant and I got to tell you, Stella, please tell us this. We heard about how you and the family have been keeping miss Louisiana lea's traditions going and one you also kept going, giving to others. During this pandemic, free food, free food. Why has that been so important to you and the family? Well, because of the tradition of the chase family to always look out for the community when they are in need and in 1965 after hurricane Betsy, the city was in need. Particularly the people in the ninth ward. We didn't have electricity. We had very little but my mother and father came to the restaurant, took everything out of the freezer, cooked, cooked, sent it to the people in the ninth ward really in need after hurricane Betsy. That's the way we do what she said to do, work hard, pray and do for others. What a message that is, dooky, I can see you have quite a spread. What's on the men knew? Well, I could tell you this is your typical mardi gras menu. This is potato salad, red beans and rice, fried chicken and a good creole gumbo. Mm-mm, so good. MM. Edgar IV. We can't have mardi gras without the ultimate fat Tuesday king cake. Have you your own thing. You do a king cake bread pudding. How do we get started with that. We do and just we're going to get started with a little leftover king cake and the reason we do our king cake bread pudding, if you think of king day, January 6th, well, here at dooky we call it queen's day, the birthday of lea chase also born on January 6 szott he, of course, New Orleans, we'll keep that tradition and put our own spin on it. What you do, clean off your king cake as best you can with the glaze and sugar, break it off into pieces and right here you can see I've already broken it, right and have cube butter and vanilla. Right here what we have, you make a little custard. You got six eggs in here and we added some sugar and all you want to do is just beat that up, right, so you're just beating it. This recipe is so simple. Something you can do at home because it's one bowl, you beat the egg, whisk it, have your milk right here and putting that in and if you are at home cooking for your family, go on without the gloves and mix that in. And what you're looking for, the consistency that you're looking for is right here, right? You're looking for this great consistency, that's what you're looking for. So once you have that consistency after you squeeze it in, you're going to put that in a ramekin which we do here at dooky chase, this 6-inch ramekin, scoop it in, put it in a 350-degree oven for about 15, 25 minutes and you're going to get something like this. Beautiful golden brown, you are going to see it souffle in your look at it and say this is perfect. You'll smell it. What about the baby? What about the baby, because you know the tradition. Come on. For good luck. You know we're not going to forget the baby. I almost forgot to tell you. I didn't want to give them a clue of which one had the baby. Whoever gets the baby gets the luck and they also have to host the next party and bring the king cake so I don't want to let them know which one will have the baby in it so the last thing we'll do is put this baby glaze that we have right here and that's just a little powdered sugar and milk that you whisk together and I'll bring it right back up. There you go. Another thing, if you want to add a little bit here. Can you help us out here? We all say we know we got it wrong. The pronounce the proper way. Dooky. This is dooky III. I dropped the "Y." Imuse dook. When you grow up and there's three of you and everybody is screaming dooky, you got to figure out who they're talking to. So here we have our sugar and you know the meaning behind these, right? You got your purple which stands for justice, you have your green which stands for faith and my aunt talked about such a family of faith that we are and then you have the gold, right, stands for the power and that was strictly our queen miss lea chase brought the power to our family. So when you look at this and I will not tell you which one has the baby and hopefully I get the luck with the baby and somebody else gets to host the party then I'll bring the king cake as well. So we want to thank you all for tuning in at dooky chase. We have a wonderful spread. If you go out on mardi gras day in New Orleans, you're going to find somebody on the corner with chicken and red beans and rice and gumbo to keep you warm and king cake and another creole dish we serve mardi gras morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the entire family. Happy mardi gras. And you can find more recipes on our website at

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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