Red River Grill to close today; Maglieaux's to open June 13
For over 16 years, one of the favorite hangouts in downtown Marksville has been the Red River Grill, located right behind the Avoyelles Parish courthouse.
The restaurant, owned by Al and Tanya (Dupuy) Mahfouz, has been featured in national publications and is one of Marksville’s and Avoyelles’ claim to fame.
Today, Mayy 20, the Mahfouzes pass the torch to a new generation of owners, John and Kathy Richmond. Red River Grill will close and reopen June 13 as Maglieaux’s Downtown Grille.
Tanya broke the news to the Avoyelles Police Jury at its May 9 meeting, noting that she hopes the parish will continue the fine partnership with the Richmonds that she and Al have enjoyed.
Jurors said they would miss the Mahfouzes but looked forward to welcoming, and most likely patronizing, the new restaurant.
MET WITH CITY, PARISH OFFICIALS
“I want to thank you for the many years of great entertainment and great food that is known around the country,” Juror Marsha Wiley told Tanya.
Kathy Richmond said she and husband John will continue the agreement of maintaining the Courthouse Atrium area, which is owned by the Police Jury and “look to continue the legacy of the Red River Grill.”
John Richmond addressed the Marksville City Council on May 10 to ask for a resolution granting him permission to seek a state permit to sale alcoholic beverages under the restaurant’s new name. He pointed out that the permit cannot be issued until after May 20 because there can’t be two liquor permits for one establishment.
The council welcomed him to Marksville and passed the resolution.
Councilman Frank Havard joked that they should come up with an easier name to pronounce.
John said it is a play on Kathy’s maiden name of Magliolo.
“Her family is Italian, so we took her name and added ‘eaux’ to it,” he explained.
“In that case, don’t change the name,” Havard remarked.
Tanya said Red River Grill, which opened in 2001, is the second-oldest family-owned sit-down restaurant in Marksville. Only Nanny’s, on Tunica Drive, has been in operation longer, since 1969. Harry’s, a drive-in at Spring Bayou and Preston roads, is the oldest eating establishment in the city, founded by the current owner’s father right after World War II.
Tanya said their children and grandchildren have grown up in the business and have worked in the restaurant. Now, she and Al are planning to retire.
Tanya, a native of Moncla, and her husband bought the two buildings that make up the grill and banquet room from the Police Jury, with assistance from the late Sammy Couvillon.
Their renovation spurred a rebirth of downtown Marksville, which has since seen a few retail shops spring up on the square. The grill has served fresh Gulf seafood, prime steaks and game in a casual fine-dining atmosphere that is unique in this area.
The restaurant’s design and menu have kept guests from across the nation and even international visitors returning to this area on their vacations.
The tables have been popular from the locals to nationally famous guests such as a "60 Minutes" CBS crew.
THE NEW OWNERS
The Richmonds live in Natchitoches, where they own and operate popular Maglieaux’s on the River restaurant on Front Street and Cane River in Natchitoches. They also own and operate Sweet Cane Bed & Breakfast in Natchitoches.
Kathy said she and John moved from Baton Rouge to Natchitoches four years ago to get away from big city life and to open a restaurant.
“I guess now we’re a chain, since this is our second restaurant,” she joked.
The new restaurant will be just like the name -- a mix of Louisiana French and Italian cuisine.
The Richmonds have purchased a residence in downtown Marksville for them and their son/head chef Brad Haigler to live when they are in town.
Kathy said they will be splitting their time between Marksville and Natchitoches.
The Mafouzes won’t be totally out of the picture. They will keep their reception and catering business separate and open in the adjacent building, to be known as Red River Catering.