Not typically known as a dining mecca, the thoroughfare from South Broad Avenue to North Broad Street is gradually picking up the pace. Community efforts towards the area's commercial and residential revitalization are happening slowly, but surely, and restaurateurs have already taken advantage of the forward momentum.
Almost three years ago, Lindsey McLellan opened El Pavo Real, where Fontainebleau, Napoleon, and South Broad meet, in a historic corner building that used to be a convenience store. After many years as chef of the Spanish restaurant Lola's on Esplanade, McLellan now offers Mexican cuisine (her husband's heritage) in a casual, family-friendly spot. The authentic cuisine has driven fans from all over the city to indulge, whether it's at breakfast for huevos rancheros and chilaquilles, or lunch for a heady plate of her roasted chicken mole poblano or mouthwatering tender carnitas. Nothing on El Pavo Real's menu is over $18, making this a delicious and highly affordable option.
Just down the road a piece is the Laurel Street Bakery. Owner and baker Hillary Guttman opened this location back in 2013 (a second before Toast took over the first location Uptown), and the bakery has been going strong ever since, offering both breakfast and lunch. In the morning, you'll feast on homemade bagels and spreads—try a marble rye with sundried tomato cream cheese or a cinnamon raisin with dates and honey—or bagel breakfast sandwiches with eggs, cheese, and bacon, or Nutella and fresh sliced strawberries. There are also plenty of pastries, from muffins and croissants to turnovers and scones. At lunch, all of the sandwiches are only $9, whether you want it on a croissant or sourdough, from The Gene with smoked turkey and avocado to the roast beef and Gouda melt.
Though it wouldn't make an entire meal, you can always walk next door to chocolatiers Piety & Desire for a truffle or two and enjoy a quaff at Broad Street Cider & Ale, two new Broad Avenue spots that opened only last year.
Cross the Broad Street bridge that hops over I-10 to Tulane Avenue, and less than two blocks from the courthouse, you'll find Marjie's Grill. A little over a year ago, Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney, a couple of Herbsaint alums, launched this hip little joint, serving Southeast Asian-inspired barbecue. Easily as fabulous as other popular spots that opened at the same time, Marjie's offers a menu that changes with the seasons (and possibly the chef's whims), serving dishes like slow-grilled pork spare ribs grilled over hardwood, charcoal-grilled Gulf shrimp “slathered” in a chili lime sauce, and the ever-popular coal-roasted sweet potatoes with cane syrup and sea salt. One meat dish with one side will only set you back $12, so you may like to add another, like grilled summer squash or smashed cucumbers with mint, sesame seeds, and chilis.
The Ruby Slipper Café, a local chain with several locations (including in Alabama and Florida), moved their flagship Mid-City restaurant from its original spot on S. Cortez to a newly refurbished building right across the street from Marjie's Grill. Specializing in breakfast and brunch, the menu is filled to the brim with dishes like Bananas Foster Pain Perdu, Eggs Cochon with slow-cooked pork debris and buttermilk biscuits, BBQ Shrimp & Grits, and Bacon Praline Pancakes. You'll also want to avail yourself of their “eye-opening” cocktails, like the award-winning Bloody Marys and a Big Easy Mimosa.
It would be a mistake to walk away from Broad Street without mentioning the tasty and affordable eats to be had at Liberty's Kitchen. Located in the same strip as Whole Foods Market, this non-profit cafe's mission is to “provide pathways for New Orleans youth to create and achieve their vision of success through workforce training, leadership development, and to support healthy lifestyles.” Help support this noble effort while enjoying delicious dishes for breakfast and lunch, like breakfast tacos with roasted potatoes and refried beans, a Garden Sandwich with egg and avocado mash, a house-made black bean burger with cilantro-lime mayo, or a grilled chicken sandwich on a toasted brioche bun.