Copeland’s Restaurant, located at 1319 West Esplanade, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Kenner.
Among the celebrants is Al Copeland, Jr. who owns the restaurant and picked the location for it in 2007. At the time, Al Copeland Jr. was a young executive who owned franchises of two Popeye’s and two Church’s Fried Chicken Restaurants.
Al Copeland, Sr., the founder of Popeye’s and also Copeland’s Restaurants, is Al’s father and where he got his passion for New Orleans culinary traditions.
Copeland Sr. died in 2008 of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer. Today, Copeland Jr. is passionate about honoring his dad’s legacy with the Al Copeland Foundation. The foundation is working to bring life-saving cancer treatments and research to end cancer right here at home.
Copeland, Jr. serves today as chief executive officer and chairman of Al Copeland Investments, which includes restaurants in Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas. But, Copeland says there is still a special place in his heart for the first Copeland’s Restaurant that he personally owned. “It actually took seven years of looking and negotiating to find what I believed was the perfect site for a Copeland’s Restaurant in Kenner,” says Copeland. “Add to that the fact that my wife Liz and I have lived in Kenner for 32 years and it is where we raised our five daughters.
We have a very special connection to this restaurant and always will. It also makes me very proud that the Copeland’s in Kenner is one of our most popular restaurants. While the Copeland’s on West Esplanade was being constructed, the new owner went recruiting for the right people to run his restaurant. Copeland often says, “We are in the people business, we just happen to sell delicious food.” Because of that belief, he set out to find the best restaurant operators he ever knew to lead his Copeland’s restaurant.
He found two men with the perfect passion, dedication and drive to make his restaurant successful. Today, ten years later, Copeland says Joey Saltaformaggio and Robbie Catton are the duo leading the team that makes the Copeland’s in Kenner the huge success it is today. “People come to our restaurant because the dining experience here feels like family. They love to come in and flash their Lagniappe cards to show their loyalty,” says Copeland.
“We work very hard to select people to work here. We have a team that loves what they do and who wants to service our guests and provide them with an over the top dining experience.” Copeland is especially proud of an intensive nineday training program that every prospective Copeland’s wait staff must go through and pass before being allowed to actually serve real Copeland’s customers. “Our success is rooted in our people and we believe in their success,” he says.
The Copeland’s on West Esplanade has more than 90 employees, many of whom reside in Kenner. Al and Liz are also proud of their five daughters, two of whom work in the family business. Two are in other fields and the youngest daughter will graduate from college this fall. “Kenner has really been good to our family,” says Copeland. “We have taken great pride in being Kenner residents. This is a wonderful close-knit city that has been our home for more than three decades. We’re glad that we settled here and are pleased to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the store on West Esplanade.”