Two in one … The Troubadour, a brand new boutique hotel in the Central Business District, is also home to two new restaurants by New Orleans native chef and restaurateur Phillip Lopez. The creative chef behind Root and Square Root in the Lower Garden District has launched Petit Lion with a menu inspired by modern French bistro fare. Stop in for lunch to try Moule Frites with fresh mussels steamed in vadouvan (an Indian spice blend) and coconut milk, Salad Lyonnaise with bacon lardons and mustard vinaigrette, or the game-changing Petit Lion Burger made with Wagyu beef, American cheese and secret “special sauce.”
The Troubadour also recently opened Monkey Board, a 17th-floor rooftop bar with a cocktail list created by T. Cole Newton and bites by Lopez, featuring “food truck” cuisine. Devour dishes like chilaquiles, a “Big Ass” pretzel with beer cheese fondue, a Lobster Dog with sauce gribiche and even “Birthday Cake.” Who can't get enough of Chef Lopez? We can't!
1111 Gravier St., (504) 518-5800, jdvhotels.com/hotels/louisiana/new-orleans-hotels/the-troubadour
You may pop at … Maypop, a new sister to Mid-City restaurant MoPho, recently opened in the Paramount building, hub of the hopping new South Market District. Owned and operated by talented local chef Michael Gulotta, Maypop offers “Southeast Asian-inspired Southern cuisine” in a contemporary yet casual atmosphere. Gulotta and his chef de cuisine, William “Trey” Smith III, are wowing from the get-go with dishes like a whole roasted fairytale pumpkin with crisp apple slices and warm roti, wok-fried egg noodles with jumbo Gulf shrimp in a turmeric curry, hot chicken vindaloo with crispy, sticky rice cakes, and chai donuts with dulce de leche ice cream, popcorn and cranberry. Prepare to be addicted.
611 O'Keefe Ave., (504) 518-6435, maypoprestaurant.com
Makin' groceries on Oak! … Specializing in locally sourced products, Simone's Market had a grand opening last month on Oak Street. Located in the space that once housed a Super 10 store, the market is the brainchild of Simone Reggie, the wiz who helped launch Cleaver & Co. and the New Orleans branch of Good Eggs. Shoppers can expect to find plenty of local products, produce, meat and poultry due to Reggie's established connections with farmers and other food producers in the Greater New Orleans Area. The market is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.
8207 Oak St., (504) 273-7706, simonesmarket.com
What we've been waiting for … The long-awaited, smoked meat powerhouse Central City BBQ recently opened, much to the appreciation of barbecue-lovers all over the city. The new eatery, created and launched by chef and restaurateur Aaron Burgau of the popular Uptown spot Patois, and pitmaster Rob Bechtold, features many of the usual suspects like brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, pork ribs and chicken. But they also serve sandwiches like The Pig Cheesy with pulled pork and pimento cheese plus sides including Remoulade Potato Salad, Pithouse Beans and Sweet Corn Spoonbread. Central City BBQ is open Thursday thru Monday, from 11 a.m. till they sell out.
1201 S. Rampart St., (504) 558-4276, centralcitybbq.com
Getting broader … Part of the influx of new businesses in the Tulane Avenue corridor, Marjie's Grill recently opened on Broad Street, less than a block from other newcomers to the area like The Big Cheezy, Fharmacy and Melt. According to Nola.com, two former employees of Herbsaint, Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney, launched Marjie's Grill. The humble and comfortable neighborhood restaurant features barbecue “inspired by the cuisines of Vietnam and Thailand.” Dishes include Campfire Roasted Sweet Potato with cane syrup and crispy pork fat, charred pork steak with green tomato relish, and coal-roasted sheepshead on the half shell.
320 S. Broad St., (504) 603-2234, facebook.com/marjiesgrill
Well worth the journey … What was once a tiny BBQ stand out on LA-23 in Belle Chasse has evolved into a larger food stand with a giant, covered porch that seats 60 to 70 diners. Appreciated by many as some of the best BBQ the GNO has to offer, LA23 BBQ was created by partners and pitmasters Bobby Monsted III and Aaron Gelfand, who offer Texas-style smoked meat with mouth-watering chicken, pulled pork, ribs and brisket that disappears faster than you can say “LA-23.” All joking aside, this 'cue is so good, it often runs out before 1 p.m., so get it while you can!
9661 LA-23, Belle Chasse, (504) 657-3693, facebook.com/BBQ23
Cajun country … Chef Ricky Cheramie of Restaurant Rebirth has just launched another Warehouse District restaurant dubbed Galliano. Named after Cheramie's hometown of Galliano, Louisiana, this spot is where diners can comfortably enjoy “downhome,” Cajun-style cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Located in the space that once housed Root, Galliano offers delightful dishes like Crab and Corn Calas, biscuits and gravy with cochon de lait gravy and mirliton chow chow, and paneed pork chops with crab étouffée. Galliano is open daily for lunch and dinner.
200 Julia St., (504) 324-4065, gallianorestaurant.com
Revolving doors … The Garden District sandwich shop The Grocery has closed for the second time in less than two years. Initially shuttered in late 2015, the previous owners had to split due to a major rent increase. That's when Geoffrey Meeker of French Truck Coffee swooped in and reopened the corner spot with minor renovations and menu changes. Unfortunately, The Avenue has closed yet again (Meeker cites disputes with the landlord), and, once again, the Garden District has lost The Grocery. But never fear! Gert Town's Gracious Bakery + Cafe is planning to expand to The Grocery's location early this year, offering their phenomenal pastries, breads and desserts, plus daily lunch and weekend brunch. Owner Meg Forman had been looking for an optimal Uptown space and thinks The Grocery is a perfect fit. “We’ve been looking to expand for a while now but just hadn’t been able to find the right spot. When The Grocery became available, it just felt like the next right move,” Forman says. Goodness gracious!
2854 St. Charles Ave., graciousbakery.com