Pat Gallagher was born in 1950, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans. He opened his first restaurant in 1978 in Folsom, Louisiana called the Winner’s Circle, since that area was known as horse country. His mentor was a retired New Orleans chef, who had moved to Folsom, Chef Francis Stipsky. He was the executive chef at Diamond Jim Moran’s in the French Quarter, who used to put diamonds in pork chops. Every major chef in the New Orleans area, including Great Chef Warren LeRuth, would travel up to Folsom to eat at the Winner’s Circle. Chefs have always picked the chefs for our Great Chefs television shows, and Chef Gallagher was on our list to tape for our Louisiana New Garde series, but it closed in 1991 before we were able to film him.
Chef Pat then moved to Natchez, Mississippi to operate three restaurants, but his heart was back in New Orleans. A few years later, he returned to the New Orleans north shore, and opened Gallagher’s Steak House in Covington, and shortly thereafter, he opened a catering facility down the road in Mandeville.
In 2005, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse talked Chef Gallagher into moving to the New Orleans south shore and become the executive chef at the original Ruth’s Chris restaurant. Months later, in August, Hurricane Katrina hit and the restaurant never reopened. Chef Pat was moved to their other location west of the flooding, in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, where he remained for four more years.
In 2009, he had the opportunity to purchase the old Le Bec Fin restaurant of Great Chef Claude Aubert, back in Covington, an area near where he lived. Gallagher’s Grill was born and six years later, in 2015, Chef Gallagher opened a second restaurant, Gallagher’s 527 in Mandeville at the end of the New Orleans causeway.
Chef Pat is on our list when Great Chefs start production again later in 2016.