Where's the beet? … Sweet Soulfood, a cafeteria-style vegan restaurant, opened recently on N. Broad Street. Located in the building that formerly housed Seasoned (a second-hand kitchenware store now on Dryades Uptown), this healthful dining option offers ice cream, smoothies, salads, and classic New Orleans soul-food dishes, all of which are guaranteed vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and organic. Dishes include smothered okra, mac-n-cheese, sweet potatoes, baked beans, jambalaya, and pralines. Sweet Soulfood is open every day but Sunday for lunch and dinner.
1016 N. Broad St., (504) 821-2669, sweetsoulfood.net
Build-your-own baba ghanuj … Byblos, the local Mediterranean restaurant chain, is opening its fifth location in the building that once housed Flaming Torch on Octavia Street, but this spot will be a little different. Inspired by the build-your-own model, diners at the new Byblos will order assembly-line-style and will also be able to pick up grab-and-go meals pre-packaged for convenience. The menu will offer many of the same items you know and love from the other Byblos locations, just in a new way.
737 Octavia St., byblosrestaurants.com
Belly up … If there's one thing this city needs, it's another bar! Especially when it's a Cuban bar and café opened by extraordinary bartenders Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich. Opened on Dumaine Street in the tiny spot that formerly housed El Libre, Manolito, according to Nola.com, was inspired by mentor Carbajo Aguiar who introduced Hannah and Detrich to “cantineros” (bartenders) and taught them the Cuban way of mixing and blending drinks. Manolito's menu offers cocktails like Hannah's mojito, a Floridita Daiquiri, and one of Hemingway's favorites—a Papa Doble with Paranubes Rum, Don Q. Cristal, grapefruit, and maraschino liqueur. Cesar Nuñez, chef de cuisine at Coquette, is offering a small menu of Cuban cuisine with dishes like black bean soup, shrimp ceviche, and ropa vieja arepas. Manolito is open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
508 Dumaine St., (504) 603-2740, manolitonola.com
Changing of the guard … J.N. Zink has left his position as the chef de cuisine at the Bywater's favorite wine bar Bacchanal to take over as executive chef at The Franklin in the Marigny, according to Nola.com. Zink is replacing Ben Wicks, who has become the chef de cuisine at Brasa Churrasqueria in Metairie. At The Franklin, Zinks once again has the opportunity to be “master of his domain” in a restaurant where fresh, locally sourced vegetables and Gulf seafood are the focus.
2600 Dauphine St., (504) 267-0640, thefranklinnola.com
A rose by any other name … Jack Rose Restaurant recently opened in the Pontchartrain Hotel, replacing the short-lived Caribbean Room. It's the first restaurant for QED Hospitality, a company formed by Brian Landry and Emery Whalen after the reorganization of the Besh empire. Executive Chef David Whitmore worked with Landry on the new menu offering New Orleans-inspired dishes like crawfish bread with raclette cheese and focaccia, shrimp and okra gumbo, fried chicken parmesan with red gravy, and roast duck with Bellegarde grits and black kale. Pastry chef Erin Swanson has kept the ever-popular Mile High Pie and added some sweets of her own, like grapefruit cake with rosé butter cream and blueberry muffin bread pudding with Dulcey ice cream.
2031 St. Charles Ave., (504) 323-1500, jackroserestaurant.com
American-style … After an eight-month renovation, The American Sector Restaurant & Bar, inside the National World War II Museum, has reopened with a larger dining room, patio seating, and a new Victory Garden-to-table menu, created by Executive Chef Eric Schutzmann, which includes a weekend brunch. Highlights include peach barbecued baby back ribs, Frito pie, “On the Home Front” meatloaf, and New York cheesecake. The American Sector also now offers a private dining room that seats up to 30 people, and features audio/visual capabilities and dedicated sound systems.
1035 Magazine St., (504) 528-1940, ww2eats.com
Eat like an Egyptian … There's a new vendor at St. Roch Market serving up Egyptian cuisine dubbed “Torshi,” the Arabic word for pickles. Rafik Abohattab is the operator of this new installation and is a native of Cairo, who is serving dishes like koshari, rosemary lamb shank, shakushka, tabouli, and fatoush. He also added a New Orleans-like version of a gyro with his falafel po-boy dressed with tahini sauce.
2381 St. Claude Ave., neworleans.strochmarket.com/torshi
New York via Atlanta … Goldbergs Fine Foods, a New York-style deli chain from Georgia, is opening its first location in New Orleans. Combining “authentic New York deli foods with Southern hospitality,” Goldbergs's menu features bagels, breakfasts, sandwiches, po-boys, and more. Items of note include their “Bagel Beignets” made with bagel dough that's deep fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with strawberry compote; and a New York-style po-boy with corned beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, Swiss, and kosher pickles on house-made bread.
925 Common St., goldbergbagel.com
Leading the line … Open now for a little over six months, French Quarter restaurant Curio has tapped Brody LeBlanc as its new executive chef. With over 10 years under his belt, LeBlanc attended Delgado Community College for Culinary Arts and has worked in kitchens at the W Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Palace Café, Tableau, and Borgne, just to name a few. "We are thrilled to have Chef Brody join us at Curio," Steven Marsella, culinary director for Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, stated. "He has an extensive background implementing modern American and Creole cooking into his dishes, creating rich, well-composed menus that bode well for Curio's eclectic feel."
301 Royal St., (504) 717-4198, curionola.com