In 1945, Phil Tuminello and his family opened a seafood market in front of their house on Government Street and expanded it into a full-service restaurant in 1950. Upon his retirement in 1971, Phil sold his restaurant to local entrepreneurs, Bob Dellafiora and Chuck Blair who hired Gus Piazza as the manager and gave him a minor stake in the business.
A native of Metairie, Gus had recently graduated from LSU where he served as an equipment manager for the LSU football team from 1968-1971. It was there that Gus forged friendships with many coaches, players, students, and others affiliated with LSU through his natural, out-going charisma. Always dreaming of owning the restaurant himself, Gus managed to raise enough to buy out Dellafiora and Blair in 1975. Gus then brought his parents, Frank and Lucille as well as his sister, Margaret “Mags” into the business who helped update the menu by adding many family recipes and worked alongside Gus in creating a landmark.
Gus owned and operated the restaurant at its original Government Street location until moving to a new location on Concord Avenue near College Drive in November of 2003 where it remained a success for several years.
Despite facing medical problems most of his adult life including a kidney transplant in which his loving wife of 30 years was his donor, his passion to serve people never wavered.
In 2007, Gus’ declining health forced him to close his restaurant – 32 years to-the-date that he purchased it from his former partners. Five months later, Gus succumbed to his illnesses and passed away on November 14, 2007. Gus’ family and friends truly believe that closing the restaurant ultimately lead to his death, as a part of him died when the legendary Baton Rouge restaurant shut its doors.
Since then, it has been our dream to recreate our father’s beloved restaurant. Our goal is to celebrate all the great memories that many families made at the original Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant, while creating many more memories and continuing our father’s legacy of serving the Baton Rouge community great food in an authentic environment.
As we embark on this old tradition, we hope you enjoy your time here with family and friends and help us recreate a Baton Rouge institution.
-Anthony Piazza and Jordan Piazza