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The Red Caboose

The Red Caboose was a novelty theme restaurant opened in Metairie's Fat City district in 1972. Its structure consisted of an actual train caboose and boxcars connected together by enclosed passageways. Entrance was made via a "terminal" connecting the caboose lounge and the dimly lit boxcar dining rooms.

Steak and prime rib were the specialties of the house. Like a lot of places of the day, a dinner consisting of prime rib, baked potato and "a trip to the salad bar" would set you back $4.95.

The illustration on the matchbook cover (above) showed an idealized version set in an open field surrounded by trees. In reality, the restaurant was shoehorned into a narrow commercial lot just like everything else in Fat City.

Red Caboose was more or less a copy of another restaurant in the French Quarter called Victoria Station, and was yet another venture hoping to capitalize on the popularity the Fat City district was enjoying in the 1970s. A second iteration was established across the river in Gretna, which lasted until 1978.

The Red Caboose in Fat City survived until about 1979. Before the train cars were removed, the site was briefly home to a travel agency. Today, the "depot" still stands, its red brick painted a dull beige. Only those who remember The Red Caboose know what it once was.

Red Caboose: Steak, 3100 N Arnoult Rd, Metairie (Metairie Above Causeway) - 889-0330 (do not call) map

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