Rick Gratia brings a lifetime’s experience in the restaurant business to Muriel’s Jackson Square. A native son of the Crescent City, Rick has fine dining coursing through his veins and a thorough knowledge of the eating and drinking habits of New Orleans’ own celebrated gourmands. On the importance of food in his life Rick says, “I live to eat, not the other way around.” Rick, literally, grew up in a restaurant. His family owned Fontana’s Seafood Restaurant, a much beloved and very successful New Orleans dining establishment. “My life was a continuum of celebrations. Everyday occurrences were reason enough for fine food and great wine. That is why I am so passionate about what I do!”
In the early stages of his career, Rick worked his way through the kitchens and dining rooms of New Orleans. He formalized his education at the University of New Orleans where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration. Rick then went on to assume lead management positions in some of New Orleans finest restaurants.
Rick joined forces with developer Doug Ahlers, in 2001 when Muriel’s was established. He brings an undying love for New Orleans and an absolute commitment to culinary excellence. It is because of this undying love that Rick continues to support a multitude efforts in relation to the revitalization and perseverance of the city he holds dear including supporting local police, preservation efforts and education, especially the education of UNO students.
Rick is currently chair of the University of the New Orleans Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Administration Advisory Committee and serves on the Advisory Board of the UNO College of Business. He also served as president of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience for the two years before and after Hurricane Katrina, ensuring that the event was held despite the effects of the storm.