Restaurant Checklist for 2017
A new year brings new culinary options.
The following is a collection of restaurants just-opened or about to open. They include a popular food truck going bricks-and-mortar, the rebirth of a long-closed Creole-soul icon, a distillery-cum-restaurant, a restaurant within a museum and a tribute to one of the culinary greats who died earlier this year.
Aux 3 Garçons Bistro — 1200 Poydras St. Along a rapidly developing stretch of Loyola Avenue, a new French offering will occupy part of the new multiuse complex on the corner of Poydras. Eric Damidot, executive chef at the next-door Hyatt Regency, will stand at the helm and feature the bistro fare of his native France. For a study in contrasts, the new building will also include Dave & Buster’s, a massive chain video game arcade / restaurant.
Dunbar’s Creole Cuisine — 7834 Earhart Blvd. Anybody who remembers Freret Street in its humbler days before Hurricane Katrina will remember Dunbar’s. It was one of New Orleans’ Creole-soul standbys, and generations of Loyola and Tulane students depended on it for its low-cost fare. Now, Celestine Dunbar has found a bigger, sparklier location between Xavier University and Notre Dame Seminary that may help to make up for all that lost time.
Lula — 1532 St. Charles Ave. Lula Restaurant Distillery is looking to capitalize on the micro-distilling craze in the Crescent City at a high-profile spot on St. Charles: the old Halpern’s furniture annex. Lula will distill its own gin, rum and vodka on-site and craft its cocktails accordingly. The menu will focus on game – rabbit, quail, Cornish hen – and other items that reflect chef/co-owner Jess Bourgeois’ Donaldsonville roots. Several entrees include a dash of rum, since it’s readily available.
Maypop — 611 O’Keefe Ave. Chef Mike Gulotta, who brought MoPho to Mid-City, is expanding to the CBD. This time, though, there will be less pho and more of an emphasis on other Asian dishes. Maypop will join the other restaurants (Company Burger, Blaze Pizza, Magasin Kitchen, Willa Jean) in the Paramount building, occupying the former site of the ill-fated Ursa Major on the corner of Lafayette.
Picayune Social House — 326 Camp St. Located in a former Daily Picayune newspaper office (more recently, until its move to Mid-City, Ed Smith’s Stencil Works), this gastro-pub will feature casual Indian fare out of a tandoori oven.
Rosedale — 801 Rosedale Drive, New Orleans. Opened in October, Susan Spicer’s new restaurant occupies the simplest of buildings in an unexpected spot, amidst the cemeteries and railroad tracks in old Lakeview. But its classic New Orleans menu promises a spicy contrast to the understated location. Fellow New Orleanian and Bayona veteran Brett Duffee will keep things authentic as chef.
Ted Brennan’s Decatur Restaurant — 309 Decatur St. With his ambitious project for a new restaurant still in process, Ted Brennan passed away in August. But the mantle passes to his son Teddy and chef Lazone Randolph, who served for years as chef at Brennan’s on Royal before cousin Ralph acquired it.
Taceaux Loceaux — 627 Celeste St. After a spate of Mexican openings over the past two years, does New Orleans need another taco place? Few are better positioned to answer that question than Alex and Maribeth del Castillo, who have spent years building up street cred with their well-respected Taceaux Loceaux food truck. The new location will allow the del Castillos to expand their menu, serve margaritas and create an atmosphere to match their food.
Toups South — 1609 Oretha C. Haley Blvd. Since opening Toups’ Meatery on South Carrollton and Dumaine in 2012, Isaac Toups’ Cajun star has risen rapidly on the strength of his authentic regional fare. It makes sense that Toups would assume the restaurant slot at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in Central City. Opened in October, the restaurant gives the museum a chance to feature a Southern exemplar, and it gives Toups an excuse to expand the geographic reach of his menu.