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.

David Barbeau


Chef David Barbeau was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin by his loving parents, Mary Ellen & Fran Barbeau. One of his earlier and most notable positions as Executive Chef was held at the Whistling Swan Inn & Restaurant in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. After moving from Wisconsin to New Orleans, he has spent the past ten years living in the Irish Channel. He continued his culinary career as Chef de Cuisine of Toups Meatery & Toups South and is currently the Executive Chef of Atchafalaya Restaurant.

After two decades on the line, he believes all of his life’s philosophy can be described metaphorically through food. A huge part of his culinary ideals begin with sourcing food from local, sustainable farms & gardens. He believes that when you start with humanely raised & naturally grown, quality ingredients then all you have to do is the little steps in cooking to enunciate their natural beauty. It is through these beliefs that he and his staff develop & source their menu at Atchafalaya.