Food News: December 2019

10:14 December 03, 2019
By: Kim Ranjbar

Man vs. Fire … Across Lake Pontchartrain in Covington, a new restaurant named Pyre Provisions has ignited the appetites of Northshore denizens. Located in the space that formerly housed Bacobar, this fiery feast is the brainchild of New Orleans chef Jeff Mattia is "showcasing primitive cooking techniques and classic steakhouse precision." Mattia has worked in kitchens such as Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak in Connecticut and, locally, Restaurant August, American Sector, and, most recently, the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. The menu features an eclectic mix of cuisines, but the focus is always on rustic wood-fire cooking. 70437 Highway 21 | Covington,

Keep us caffeinated … Marigny-born Coast Roast Coffee has opened its first stand-alone cafe in New Orleans. The local roaster already has two other spaces, one in the Auction House Market and the other at the St. Roch Market. The new CR Coffee Shop is located in a sidehall-turned-café across the street from Cavan on Magazine. Featuring a dog-friendly patio area, specialty coffee drinks, and java by the pound, CR Coffee Shop is bound to be a new destination for Uptown residents grabbing their morning cuppa joe. The shop is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 3618 Magazine Street |

NOLA across the pond … Chef Slade Rushing has left the iconic Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter-but not really. According to, Rushing has been tapped to helm the new London version of Brennan's called Louie, a restaurant that is due to open early next year in Covent Garden. The French hospitality group the Paris Society is developing this new spot, which is named after Louis Armstrong. The cuisine will be a blend inspired by New Orleans, London, and Paris. Ryan Hacker, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute who has worked in kitchens from Massachusetts to Texas, has officially taken Rushing's spot at Brennan's. 417 Royal Street | (504) 525-9711,

Moar tacos! … Kenner's Chilangos Seafood has expanded into Orleans Parish, taking over the spot that formerly housed Boucherie on S. Carrollton Avenue. The new restaurant dubbed, Chilangos Bar & Grill, is a family-run establishment with a large menu touting a salsa bar, cocktails, and lots of seafood-based Mexican dishes, from shrimp scampi and whole fried tilapia to fajitas, floutas, and, of course, plenty of tacos. 1506 S. Carrollton Avenue | (504) 766-9949,

Opa! … At long last, the empty dining space that once held Rambla inside the International House Hotel has been filled by Rockrose, a modern Mediterranean restaurant launched by Blue Crab restaurateur Nick Asprodites and his business partner and chef Brian Doyle. The usual suspects dot the menu, such as tzatziki, roasted eggplant spread (a.k.a. baba ganuj), and Greek salad, but there are a quite a few that are not-so-usual to your average Mediterranean joint, such as squid ink cavatelli with Cajun Caviar and crème fraiche, grilled Beelers pork chop with grilled cabbage and apple, or honey roasted sweet potatoes with aleppo and yogurt. 217 Camp Street | (504) 369-3070,

Getting to the heart of it … The Magnolia Mansion, a wedding venue and inn on Prytania Street, is once again getting into the restaurant game with the launch of La Coeur du Magnolia. Italian restaurant Altamura was the most recently restaurant in that space which, unfortunately, closed after less than a year, but we're crossing our fingers for the new eatery, which is focusing on New Orleans cuisine. Dishes include duck and andouille gumbo, crab cakes with remoulade, muffulettas, and blackened ribeye steak. Desmond Peterson, chef and co-founder of the NOLA Food Project, has recently been promoted to Executive Chef, and he will be re-working the current menu. Le Coeur du Magnolia is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. 2127 Prytania Street | (504) 766-8000,

Let this sit for a bit … According to the Uptown Messenger, longtime caterers and wholesale bakery Windowsill Pies is opening their own digs on Freret Street. Taking over the space that briefly housed Cuzco Peruvian Cuisine, owners and bakesters Nicole Eiden and Marielle Dupré will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner-featuring savories such as their herb chicken pot pie with Pernod as well as Gruyere and chive scones-and certainly lots of sweets, from the Vanilla Bean Bourbon Pecan Pie to the Almond-Laced Apple. The new cafe is projected to open mid to late December, so keep your fingers crossed for a pie-filled holiday. 4714 Freret Street |

Congratulations! … Robért LeBlanc, founder and Creative Director of local hospitality group LeBLANC+SMITH, was recently named Restaurateur of the Year by the Louisiana Restaurant Association. "A lot of folks talk about how wonderful they are. Robért talks about how wonderful their team is, how they develop concepts, and how they execute at a really high level," said Stan Harris, President and CEO of Louisiana Restaurant Association. LeBLANC+SMITH is a boutique hospitality group comprised of five restaurants and bars in New Orleans, including Sylvain, Longway Tavern, Meauxbar, Cavan, and the Lower Garden District bar Barrel Proof. Currently in the works is their latest project Hotel Chloe-a historic Uptown mansion that is transforming into a 14-room luxury inn and restaurant with local chef Todd Pulsinelli at the helm.

Taste the holidays! … A traditional French, longtime New Orleans celebration, Réveillon is a holiday feast, featuring special menus and oodles of spirits, at local restaurants. From the many locales, one we'd like to mention is Josephine Estelle, located inside the Ace Hotel. They're taking part in the festivities by offering a prix fixe menu with dishes such as oyster stew with celery root and vermouth, pork tenderloin with sweet potato and collard greens, and chocolate cheesecake with peppermint gelato.

Seaworthy, another Ace Hotel dining destination, is also offering a Reveillon menu that lives up to its name, featuring dishes such as charbroiled oysters with piment d'espelette butter, and diver scallops with maitake mushrooms and cornbread, and for dessert an almond semifreddo tinged with blood orange and extra virgin olive oil. |

So sad to see you go … Once again, we say hello to the new and a fond farewell to those who have say goodbye. Recently, the short-lived but much-loved Aloha Grill & Sushi that opened mere months ago on Calhoun Street has shuttered. No news as to why the sudden closure occurred, but thankfully, Aloha Lei remains inside the Warehouse District food hall Auction House Market.

After six years in business, specialty sandwich shop Wayfare on Freret Street has closed. An announcement on Facebook says, "Due to several reasons concerning our lease on Freret Street, we are no longer able to operate Wayfare at this location. We are sorry to say goodbye, but remain hopeful that we will have the opportunity to open at a new location." While we keep our eyes peeled for a new locale, Greek restaurant Acropolis from Metairie will be expanding in its place.

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