With a twist of the lid … Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts has altered the focus of its Big Easy Café in Metairie and transformed the casual neighborhood restaurant into the Mason Jar. Located on the corner of West Esplanade Avenue and Lorino Street, the new eatery now offers a family-friendly vibe with weekly blue-plate specials like chicken Parmesan and fried shrimp. The regular menu features “Shush Puppy” corn muffins with honey butter, homemade chicken salad, triple-decker clubs, and several burgers. The Mason Jar is open daily and also features a drive-up window, so it's easy to call in your order and pick it up without leaving your vehicle.
4517 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, (504) 323-2115, masonjarkitchen.com
Ciao! … At the Magnolia Plaza strip mall in Mandeville, Leonardo's Trattoria & Pizzeria recently threw open its doors, offering the flavors of Sicily to residents on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Featuring pastas and breads made in-house, this neighborhood Italian restaurant offers dishes like fried calamari, fresh burrata, spaghetti carbonara, rigatoni Bolognese, and melanzane parmigiana with eggplant and your choice of pasta. Owned and operated by Chef Leonardo Giarraputo, the casual trattoria is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Sundays.
2625 Florida St., Mandeville, (985) 778-2550, facebook.com/leonardostrattoria
And then there were two … Because there can never be too much soul, Two Sisters in da East has expanded to offer their scrumptious home-cooking to another restaurant across the river, dubbed Two Sisters on da Westbank. Located just a hop and a skip from Café 615 (Home of Da Wabbit), this soul food café is offering all of the good eats available at their New Orleans East location served up by chef/owner Shanel Snowton. Dig your spoon (or fork) into things like chicken and sausage gumbo with potato salad, baked or fried chicken with jambalaya, smothered okra and shrimp, and chitterlings and rice. Two Sisters on da Westbank is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1601 Franklin Ave., Gretna, (504) 309-4772
So much more … After being shuttered for over three months for renovations and a revamp, Magasin Vietnamese Café reopened again, offering most of the old favorites plus a whole new slew of main courses. Along with spring rolls and pho, some of the more interesting new items include a savory crepe with pork and shrimp, soy-roasted hen with snow peas, braised oxtail with pickled daikon, and a seafood nest with crispy noodles and oyster sauce.
4201 Magazine St., (504) 896-7611, magasincafe.com
Two birds in the hand … Taking over the tiny building on Freret Street that once housed Dat Dog and Liberty Cheesesteaks, Good Bird now has its own Uptown digs in addition to its stand at St. Roch Market in the Bywater. Using their delicious rotisserie chicken, the second Good Bird offers many of the sandwiches and salad you love from the St. Roch location, in addition to a slightly larger breakfast menu and the inclusion of fresh fruit smoothies. Try The Bird Man Jr. with creamy slaw and Swiss on sourdough, served with house-made chips, and wash it down with a Toucan Sam—a smoothie loaded with mango, pineapple, banana, lime, almond milk, and sweet agave. Good Bird is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
5031 Freret St., (504) 516-2307, goodbirdnola.com
A legend lives on … Less than a block away from the building that used to house Kyoto, blooms a new sushi spot called Kōhai, an Osaka Restaurant, opened by seasoned chef Kanetha Chau, who learned to make sushi from Sara Molony. In the hopes of bringing the flavors of Kyoto back to Prytania Street, Kōhai offers big, playful rolls like the Playboy and Lobster roll, a Double Bang Salad with assorted fish and seaweed, sesame chicken, crispy crab fingers, and baked green mussels. Fans can even order a Sara Roll, an homage to Mrs. Molony, who passed away last year. Kōhai, an Osaka Restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
4821 Prytania St., (504) 372-4135, osakakohai.com
Because Metairie needs poke too … Highly popular, Hawaiian-inspired Uptown restaurant Poke Loa has recently opened a second location in Old Metairie. Offering all of the same bowls found at the Magazine Street location, the Metry version is kicking it up with a little something extra in the form of a mochi bar, an addition likely to make Uptowners jealous. Those of you in the CBD might also want to keep your eyes open for the third location that will be opening soon in the shiny new South Market District. Poke Loa in Metairie is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
701 Metairie Rd., eatpokeloa.com
Saying a sad farewell … After 21 years in business, Vega Tapas Café in Old Metairie has shuttered its doors. Citing a huge increase in competition in the area and a rough drop in revenue, the once-popular Metairie restaurant had to close. All of us here at Where Y'at are sincerely sad to see you go.
2051 Metairie Rd., (504) 836-2007, vegatapascafe.com