Is there a pandemic going on, which has resulted in an economic downturn, or not? It sure doesn't seem like it! Folks in the industry are forging ahead, tossing their fortunes into the air and letting them blow on the winds of chance with a literal slew of openings all across the Greater New Orleans Area, and we're in awe of their unswerving optimism. May all of these brave entrepreneurs enjoy the possibilities on the horizon due to increased vaccination rates, looser restrictions, and decreased unemployment!
Approximately two years ago, the newly renovated Mercantile Hotel opened up on S. Peter Street, only a couple of blocks from the Convention Center. Just recently, The Mercantile not only reopened its doors and rooms to travelers, it also launched the Confectionery Cocktail Bar as a sweet nod to the building's origins, it was originally built in 1907 as the Henderson Sugar Refinery. Touted as the home of the bright blue "Cotton Candy Cocktail," the new bar offers concoctions both old and new, along with great bar grub like giant soft pretzels and personal pizzas. 727 S. Peter St., (504) 558-1914, themercantilehotelneworleans.com
Stepping away from the cafe
If you're seeking a new way to caffeinate, why not try Follow Tea? It's a brand new beverage spot serving boba, or bubble teas, and fruit teas on Severn Avenue in Metairie. Explore delicious options like the brûlée boba milk tea with brown sugar and custard, a refreshing pineapple tea with a cream cheese cap, passion fruit tea with tapioca pearls, strawberry yogurt bobo slushie made with Louisiana strawberries, and its "Very Lemon Tea" made from a floral oolong tea and fresh lemon juice. Follow them on Instagram @followteanola. 3334 Severn Ave., Metairie, (504) 381-4361
Brand new bar and live music venue Madam Vic's recently opened in the 7th Ward on Elysian Fields Avenue. Renovated from a gorgeous Second Empire mansion by Scott Veazey, a well-known local personality, aesthetician, and lover of local architecture. Veazey has renovated and resurrected innumerable homes throughout the city. Madam Vic's is one of his latest and, unlike many of his creative restorations which are typically private residences, it's open to the public! 1502 Elysian Fields Ave., madamvics.com
It's a beautiful morning!
Ever since its Fat City location closed two years ago, folks have been pining for Morning Call Coffee Stand. As one of the oldest establishments in New Orleans serving those famed cafe au laits and beignets (since 1870), it has long been a fast favorite, often topping the well-known Cafe du Monde in the hearts and minds of locals. When they closed in 2018, the owners vowed to return, holding pop-ups around town in the interim. At long last, and to local's gushing delight, Morning Call returned with a brand new location on the corner of Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue. Along with coffee and beignets, the restaurant serves jambalaya and red beans and rice, as well as plans to be open 24/7 when all the restrictions have been lifted, just like the old days. 5101 Canal Blvd., facebook.com/leroyquigly
A reverse pairing
Pluck, a wine bar first and a restaurant second, recently opened in the Warehouse District. Located just around the corner from Herbsaint on Girod Street, this new concept is the brainchild of New Jersey-born sommelier Skye LaTorre, who's love of vino began right here in New Orleans during a stint at Emeril's Delmonico. Featuring a "world-class" collection in a welcoming environment, Pluck's wines are carefully curated by Skye herself and are paired with vino-inspired cuisine created by Executive Chef Heathcliffe Hailey from the now closed Mimi's in the Marigny. Dishes include fig wood-smoked nuts, a grilled wild mushroom and goat gouda sandwich, flash fried frog legs, and grilled Argentine dark chocolate crostini. 722 Girod St., pluckwines.com
Seafood by the sackful
Burgeoning entrepreneurs and partners in life Steven and Chelsea Boulet have taken over the old Metairie location of Bevi Seafood and made it their own! Dubbed Bon Temps Boulet's Seafood, this bustling little, crawfish-red shack is offering Steven's secret recipe for what he (and many of their fans) consider the best boil around, and it doesn't stop there. In addition to fresh caught Louisiana seafood (from crawfish and blue crab to shrimp and oysters), Bon Temps Boulet's also features an array of po-boys served on buttered and toasted Leidenheimer French bread and some serious bread pudding. 4701 Airline Hwy., (504) 885-5003, bontempsboulets.com
It's the word(y)
Located in the chic Framework complex on Magazine Street, Birdy's Behind the Bower is a brand new breakfast, brunch, and lunch cafe that is seamlessly merged with the neighboring wine bar The Bower, both under the helm of Chef Marcus Woodham. Sporting tons of covered patio space, the restaurant opened in mid-March, just in time for New Orleans's notoriously beautiful spring weather. Among lots of other choices, Birdy's menu offers dishes such as cannoli French toast with ricotta and pistachios, chocolate chip cookie cereal, beet hummus toast, and a pastrami-laden "Butcher's Bowl" if you're not in the mood for a sandwich. They also offer specialty coffee drinks, juices, and smoothies, as well as plenty of adult-oriented beverages like beer, wine, and cocktails. 1320 Magazine St., (504) 302-2992, birdysnola.com
If you missed out on their pop-ups, FOMO no more for Yakuza House has opened its very own digs on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie. Located in the space that formerly housed Saigon Bistro, this new restaurant offers select convenience dishes from Japanese cuisine, particularly donburi (rice) bowls and sandos. Enjoy a katsu pork "mando" with cabbage, truffle mayo, and katsu sauce on milk bread, "gyu" or sirloin strip and shoyu egg yolk rice bowl with sauteed mushrooms, or snow crab salad with avocado and masago. Yakuza House is offering take out and dine-in with reservations only. 1325 Veterans Blvd., Ste. A, Metairie, (504) 345-2031, yakuzahouse.com
Louisiana-based juice company Main Squeeze has opened yet another location in town on Magazine Street, just a couple blocks up from Whole Foods. In its never-ending mission to make it easier to consume healthful, plant-based foods, Main Squeeze offers bottled cleanses, juices, shots, and "mylks"—house-flavored and crafted almond milks—in addition to bowls, toasts, and smoothies. There's also a wide array of lattes, both cold and hot, with added, energy boosting ingredients like MCT oil, cacao, coconut butter, spirulina, and matcha. 5808 Magazine St., (504) 766-6588, mainsqueezejuiceco.com
Chef Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney, the duo behind the uber-successful Broad Street spot Marjie's Grill, launched their second restaurant, Seafood Sally's (formerly a pop-up), just recently. The house-turned-restaurant on the corner of Cambronne and Oak has seen many incarnations over the years, such as La Casita Taqueria and Squeal BBQ, but this time promises to be different. Seafood Sally's offers both indoor and outdoor seating and the menu features a seafood extravaganza, everything from raw oysters to boiled and fried seafood, plus a dazzling array of cocktails. 8400 Oak St., instagram.com/seafoodsallys