About Atchafalaya

Sam Petrossi and his wife, Mary, both Italian immigrants, opened Petrossi’s Restaurant on Laurel Street in 1924.  Mr. Petrossi lived in the adjoining structure with his wife, Mary, and five children: Charles, Joe, Clara, Frances, and Eleanor. As the children grew in age, each worked at Petrossi’s in different capacities, be it a bartender, oyster shucker, or restaurant assistant.

When Sam Petrossi passed away, his sons continued to carry the Petrossi family torch in the restaurant business: Joe took over Petrossi’s  in the 1960’s, while another son, Charlie Petrossi, started the iconic Charlie’s Steakhouse. Petrossi’s Restaurant gradually wove itself into the culinary fabric of New Orleans as a neighborhood restaurant serving marinated crab claws, poboys, and traditional New Orleans staples. Joe Petrossi sold the restaurant in 1985.

Iler Pope, one of New Orleans’ venerable restaurateur-matriarchs of the 1980’s, adopted the space, bringing with her a new and eclectic menu every bit as eccentric as the woman herself. Pope let go of the older neighborhood fare in favor of dishes like Crabmeat West Indies and Speckled Butterbeans. Café Atchafalaya’s 1980’s renaissance mimicked a trend happening in many other New Orleans restaurants at the time: chefs were placing a contemporary spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine.

In 2005, the restaurant underwent yet another transformation, this time spearheaded by Tim Howard. He remodeled the interior using reclaimed materials left in the wake of Katrina’s fury. The result was an interior that remained reverent to the building’s pre-storm roots, while also looking forward to the building’s new place in New Orleans’ rapidly changing restaurant scene.


In 2008 Rachael Jaffe and Tony Tocco took the helm and shortened the name to  “Atchafalaya.” The restaurant is now known as an establishment that embraces New Orleans’ culinary traditions while pushing boundaries. The introduction of live music, innovative food, and a smart cocktail menu begin yet another chapter for a building operated originally as a grocery, then a bar, and finally found its stride in New Orleans’ rich culinary landscape.

Tony Tocco


Anthony was born in St. Louis, Mo. and came to New Orleans via Tulane University. Having worked in several restaurants in high school before college, New Orleans culinary scene called and as an undergrad started waiting tables at some of our city’s finest small bistros. His love of hospitality sufficiently stoked, Anthony opened Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge in 1992 with his partner Dave Clements in the Carrollton area of Uptown New Orleans and subsequently a music venue, The Circle Bar further downtown several years later. Anthony acquired Cafe Atchafalaya in 2008. A purchase to satisfy his professional desires as well as a way to impress his then paramour Rachael Jaffe, soon thereafter, his wife.

Rachael Jaffe Tocco


Rachael Jaffe Tocco was born and raised in Bolton, Massachusetts. In 1998 she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she attended Tulane University and studied Visual Arts and Business. Rachael relocated to New York City in 2005 where she began her career in restaurant management. In 2007 she helped design and launch a restaurant in Sint Maarten, Netherland Antilles. Upon moving home to New Orleans in 2008 where she met and married Anthony Tocco and they opened Atchafalaya Restaurant.

Chef Christopher Lynch

Executive Chef

Chef Christopher Lynch was born in Philadelphia, PA and developed a love for cooking from his grandmother at an early age. After high school, he continued on his path working under a Master French Chef. Chef Lynch went on to attend CIA Culinary Institute where he applied his passion for cooking and begin to master his craft.

Following school, Chef Lynch worked at Gautreau’s in New Orleans, where he met Tony Tocco, before moving to New York.  He then returned to New Orleans where he served as the Chef de Cuisine for Emeril’s Restaurant for 7 years.  After leaving Emeril’s he found a home at Atchafalaya as Executive Chef in 2013.  He later went on to work at Commander’s Palace, helping shape and execute the company’s pristine reputation of fine dining excellence.

Chef Lynch now re-takes the reigns of Atchafalaya with a fresh culinary perspective.  He’s assembled and continues to mentor a team of talent that has made Atchafalaya what it is today.  In addition to his passion for cooking,  he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids.

Geoff Lewis

Assistant General Manager

A product of a Baton Rouge upbringing with deep familial roots in New Orleans, Geoff has enjoyed reconnecting with the city since moving here during the Mardi Gras of 2011. He began his career in hospitality while earning his BA in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. At the time the craft scene hadn’t made its way to Charlottesville but even then just mastering the skills required to excel in the limelight of a high volume bar was a fascination that he couldn’t shake. These same skills have traveled with him as I’ve moved from Phoenix, to Vietnam, and eventually back to New Orleans while he was pursuing a career in the field of his other passion, Sustainability. Interestingly enough, Geoff feels it has been the principles of Sustainability that have been the keys to his success in the service industry as the field highlights the importance of waste reduction, efficiency, resilient and redundant systems, and community. Upon arriving in New Orleans and an exponentially more evolved craft scene under the guidance of a seasoned team at the Swizzle Stick Bar where he was able to make up for lost time under the tutelage of several seasoned bartenders who would become his cocktail mentors. Later he would join the opening team at the newly renovated Pontchartrain Hotel where he ran the beverage programs for Hot Tin, The Bayou Bar, and Jack Rose for three years.