By Stephanie Standige for Mid-City Messenger
Louisiana native Susan Dandridge opened Three Palms Bar and Grill in October on Tulane Avenue, becoming part of the ongoing revitalization of the corridor expected to accelerate once road construction is complete in January.
Although it’s new, Three Palms is already in full bloom with an eclectic crowd of people (and pets). Anyone can stop by on their way to or from an event, show their ticket, and receive 10 percent off their tab. The happy hour special is $1 off from 4 to 7 p.m.
The outdoor patio area offers three palm trees and a water fountain. Inside, the well-stocked bar is full of local options such as daiquiris made with real fruit from local vendors, plus bar seating, tables, TVs, board games and a welcoming atmosphere.
“We use as much locally grown fruits for our mojitos, margaritas and daiquiris and have expanded our liquor collection to include Bayou Rum, Old New Orleans Rum, Atelier Vie Gin and Vodka, Cajun Spirits Vodka and Donald-Peltier Rum,” Dandridge said. “We have converted a lot of people to the Eurosphine Gin and actually did a taste test with all the well known, expensive brands of vodka and the Crescent Vodka came in second place.”
In its first month, Three Palms has already hosted business meetings, a pride meeting, a class reunion, birthday parties and fundraisers, offering organizations a portion of their profits. Philanthropy efforts include a fundraiser for the Krewe of Armenius, donations to the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization’s annual porch crawl, and participation with the Mason Lodge and Trèo for a block party for the Night Out Against Crime, even feeding neighbors and police.
The bar also donates to the Winter Wonderland event that benefits the NO/AIDS task force, Food For Friends, Saint Anna’s church and the Alabama Terrier Rescue Group. Dandridge also hopes to get involved with for Drew’s Tunes, a local non-profit organization providing instruments to children and organizations in the New Orleans area in memory of Drew Joseph Boswell.
The entire process of opening Three Palms happened in a flash, she said. In a month, Dandridge heard about the sale of the former Tulane Avenue Bar, made an offer, closed the deal and left her job as Director of Admissions at the University of New Orleans.
“This was the first time in 42 years I wasn’t in school, either as a student or an employee,” Dandridge said, but noted that her background in teaching and counseling are now in use for guests coming in to take a load off. “People want to be heard, listened to and made to feel valued.”
Although new to the bar and restaurant industry, Dandridge credits her business classes at UNO and membership in the Greater Mid-City Business Association for preparing her. She also thanked the previous owners of the Tulane Avenue bar for teaching her all about the property.
“They showed me everything there was to know about this building, inside and out,” Dandridge said. “I caught on after a month of working with them hands-on. I felt like I was 14 years old again, in the sitcom ‘My Two Dads’ and they were teaching me everything I needed to know. Because they sold me the place, I wanted to impress them. They were helpful, but still, it was nerve wracking.”
The entire development of Three Palms was a community effort in Mid-City, Dandridge said. She credits Laurie Richmond and Bailey Bradley at Pel Hughes Printing in Mid-City with the “beautiful” logo and marketing materials, and Paul Boudousquie with Armadillo Signs on Tulane Avenue made a “gorgeous” building sign, she said.
“We purchased flags for the building from a local Metairie company, the Pennant Shop, which has been around for over thirty years. They were so helpful and even put the flags on the poles for us,” Dandridge said. “We got our beautiful grass cloth wallpaper from Helm Paint. We sourced our bamboo from Mike, a local seller housed in ArtEgg Studio.”
Mid-City’s Edward Jones agent Marginy de Mauriac and her assistant Elizabeth Schiner helped secure financing for Three Palms. Gulf Coast Bank in Mid-City also gave consulting help and Ericksen, Krentel and LaPorte Accountants in Mid-City advised Dandridge as well.
“Whitney Bank professionals Elisha Bush, Kim Byrd and Henry Kothman treated me as a million-dollar client and they saved me so much money on my point-of-sale system,” Dandridge said. “My aunt used them for 40 years so for sentimental reasons, I chose them.”
Three Palms Bar and Grill is judgment free, Dandridge said. Everyone is welcome and no celebration will be turned down.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Dandridge said. “Everyone has been so positive, encouraging and supportive. There hasn’t been any negativity from my friends and family and I feel so fortunate.”
Three Palms Bar and Grill is located at: 3813 Tulane Avenue in Mid-City
Hours of operation (for now):
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 4-11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 4- 2 a.m.
Sunday: 11-10 p.m.