Everything is quieting down like it always does at this time of year. It seems the summer heat has seeped into our bones, causing us to move in slow motion and fight with each step not to melt into the sidewalks. Who has the energy to construct comfy booths, re-design kitchens or test new menus in hot ovens or on blistering stove tops?
A lot of damn crazy restaurateurs and chefs, that's who!
Why anyone with any level of sanity would prefer that kind of punishment to sitting on a well-ventilated porch sipping an Old Fashioned, completely escapes me. But here we are, sweating to death at the slightest movement while another slew of restaurant openings is flashing before our eyes.
Chef Shane Pritchett, who rose to excellence at Emeril's Delmonico, has opened a second version of his Harahan restaurant Fat Hen Grill on 7457 St. Charles Ave. Fat Hen Grocery offers all the delicious dishes from it's Harahan location, including all-day breakfasts, but they also feature a full-service deli and retail grocery store. You can get barbecue by-the-pound to go, smoked on-location, including a bunch of "ShaneMade" products like Blueberry-Lemon Jam, Mustard Q Sauce, Pimento-Cheese Dressing and Jalapeno Garlic Dill Pickles. Also, at both locations they now carry Berkshire pork, a heritage-breed pig raised hormone-free and used snout-totail.
Another highly-anticipated, deli-like eatery will be opening this season that focuses on a rare delicacy, the bagel. Owners Kim and Art Zacharczyk (a seasoned bagel-making master from North East Pennsylvania), introduces Artz Bagels, located at 3138 Magazine St. between Harmony and 9th. If you take a sneak peek at their web site, www.artzbagels.com, you'll see a menu emphasizing the love for traditional bagels and delicious shmears, plus a gracious nod to our fair city with flavors like Spicy Cajun and Pecan Praline. Locally-named sandwiches and salads will make their bagels "not just for breakfast anymore" like the Broadmoor with pastrami, Swiss cheese and Creole mustard.
Remember Chef Matt Murphy with his huge family (five daughters!) who recently left M Bistro at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel? Well, you know he hasn't been idle and it's not all bicycle training and piggy-back rides. Murphy has plans to open Irish House, a restaurant who's cuisine will be based on the chef's own cultural heritage, replacing Taqueros restaurant on the corner of Melpomene and St. Charles.
There's more pizza on the horizon stemming from two planned pie joints, Pizzicare and Midway Pizza. Pizzicare will be another creation from Jeff Baron who already has three others; The Dough Bowl, Huevos and Crescent Pie & Sausage. The new place will be located on Tulane Avenue to start, but Baron has hopes for future franchises that will spread his love for what he thinks is missing in the Crescent City; a real, New York-style pie.
Midway Pizza will be offering Chicagostyle pizza located on the ever-growing, never-slowing Ferret Jet. Steve Watson and Ben Sherman, owners of the King Pin Bar on Lyons Street, hope to offer a casual place to have a few beers or cocktails at their full-service bar AND enjoy some delicious deep-dish.
We're all waiting anxiously to sink our teeth into that!
You're probably already fanning yourself from just reading about excessive amount of movment going on in this heat, so I suggest donning your best chapeau, bowler or fedora and head on over to Cafe Adelaide. With their new "Hats on you, drink on us!" summertime brunch promotion, you can relax in your widest sombrero while enjoying a complimentary cocktail like "The Red Beret" or a "Blue Bonnet."