Tommy Finch & Amy Mehrtens | Photos from Brustman Carrino PR
Twice as nice … The brand-new Copper Vine wine pub and eatery that recently opened has added two Commander's Palace alums to its already stellar kitchen staff, led by Executive Chef Mike Brewer. Owner Kyle Brechtel announced the addition of Tommy Finch as chef de cuisine and Amy Mehrtens as sous chef. Finch has worked at Commander's Palace in both Destin and New Orleans, the now-closed Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar, and White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, where he worked under the famed chef John Folse. Mehrtens is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and has worked at the Biltmore Estate, Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar, and, most recently, Commander's Palace in New Orleans.
1001 Poydras St., 504-208-9535, coppervinewine.com
Photo courtesy of Stirling Properties
Bonafide Italian … Slated to open this spring, The Julia at Saint Charles (yet another mixed-use development being built in the Warehouse District) will house Bonci Pizzeria, a Rome-based pie joint launched by “esteemed pizzaiolo” Gabriele Bonci. This new pizzeria will be serving a “daily changing” menu of pizzas, featuring locally sourced ingredients on focaccia-style crust sliced with scissors. This will be the third state-side location for Bonci; the two others are located in Chicago.
730 Julia St., bonciusa.com
Craft your fix … Edison's Espresso & Tea Bar opened inside the Pythian Market at the end of last month. Offering a “daily dose of caffeine and tea with a cocktail twist,” Edison's is owned and operated by Diedre Hall, who also owns Dee's Coffee. “I have enjoyed building our family's first coffee business over the last eight years in the Central Business District, and I am excited to fuse my love of craft cocktails to create a unique espresso and tea experience,” says Hall. Edison's menu offers a number of specialty coffee drinks brewed from Mississippi roaster Coast Roast, with options to pair with selected spirits from the Market's Bar 1908.
234 Loyola Ave., 504-517-6047, pythianmarket.com
Say cheese! … If you have a passion for everything cheesy, you won't want to miss the first Fête des Fromages taking place on Saturday, November 17, at the Old U.S. Mint. Thanks to the French American Chamber of Commerce's Gulf Coast chapter, this brand-new cheese fest will feature over 100 different fromages from all over the world. In addition to all the fabulous cheeses, the fest will also include live music from Jayna Morgan & the Sazerac Sunrise Band, The Tumbling Wheels, Robin Barnes & the Fiya Birds, and Bon Bon Vivant. Fête des Fromages also features cheese talks, like “Cheese 101” from Liz Thorpe and “Le Route des Fromages” with Alex Miles.
New Orleans Jazz Museum at the U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., fetedesfromages.com
Did somebody say yucca? … Nicaraguan food-lovers in the city no longer have to drive all the way to the ends of Kenner to get their fix! NolaNica now has a second location downtown on the second floor of the food court at Place St. Charles. The CBD location offers a somewhat truncated menu from the original Kenner location, but you can now have your yucca fritters with avocado ranch dipping sauce and eat them, too … in New Orleans!
201 St. Charles Ave., 504-405-0375, nolanica.com
So long, farewell! … 2017 Rising Star James Beard Award recipient Zach Engel has left Alon Shaya's Pomegranate Hospitality group to open his own restaurant, dubbed Galit, in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Though all of us here in New Orleans who were big fans of his cooking will be sorry to see him go, we also wish him much success in his new endeavors. Chicago is lucky to have you, Chef!
Two plus two equals … The low-key breakfast spot Two Chicks Café on Convention Center Boulevard has just opened a second location in the Central Business District. Taking over the space that formerly housed Reuben's Soup & Sandwich on Gravier Street, this female-owned brunch spot serves up dishes like a “Kickin' Chicken Omelet with red onions and goat cheese,” a “barnyard eggwich” with smoked turkey and herbed cream cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Thai shrimp po-boys. They also offer fresh-squeezed juices like a Green Blast with kale and spinach, and banana split smoothies.
920 Gravier St., twochickscafe.com
Boil time again … After bouncing around a bit on Banks Street for a couple of years, Clesi's has found a more permanent home on Bienville Street in Mid-City. In addition to expertly boiled shrimp, crab, and crawfish, Clesi's also offers burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fried seafood platters with sides like jambalaya, boudin bites, and debris fries. Clesi's is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
4323 Bienville St., 504-909-0108, clesicatering.com
Olé! … Moving into the space in Mid-City that formerly held Melt (a grilled cheese spot open for two years on Banks), Agave House is a new Mexican restaurant owned by brothers Oscar and Allan Chimal and their friend Mike Carollo, according to Nola.com. Enjoy chicken tortilla soup, shrimp enchiladas, tacos del mar with sangria or one of their special margaritas, and bottomless salsa with fresh corn tortilla chips. Agave is open daily.
2549 Banks St., 504-900-1190, agavehousenola.com
Photo courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide
Minus the ants … Created by Ti Martin, Darryl Reginelli, and Chef Tory McPhail, Picnic Provisions & Whiskey recently launched on the corner of Magazine and State Streets, taking over the spot once occupied by Noodle & Pie. Completely remodeled with a décor reminiscent of the inside of a poche picnic basket, this new restaurant features items like heirloom tomato soup, West Indies crab tacos with rum-soaked mango and pickled papaya, a pork debris and egg biscuit, and a crawfish boil hot fried chicken basket with spicy corn, mirliton, and smoky sausage. The neighborhood restaurant also features a decent wine list, a few beers, and several house cocktails. Picnic Provisions & Whiskey is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
741 State St., 504-266-2810, nolapicnic.com