Food News - November 19, 2012

00:00 November 20, 2012
By: Kim Ranjbar
[Courtesy of Backspace Bar & Kitchen]

As the weather cools down, the restaurant industry is heating up with a host of new openings, expansions, remodels and celebrations.

Because it seems like New Orleans can't get enough meat, another butcher shop has opened on the corner of Baronne Street and Constantinople dubbed Cleaver & Co. Owners Seth Hamstead and Simone Reggie focus on procuring and offering meats from only local farms and ranches, emphasizing the importance of community support in the current economic climate. Because of their commitment to quality, these butchers can tell you not only where the meat came from, but how it was raised and fed as well. Sounds like a great new place to pick up your Christmas turkey!

Speaking of the holidays, owner Celestine Dunbar is bringing her gift of Creole cooking to Gentilly. Dunbar's Soul Food has officially left its former digs at Loyola University for a building on the corner of Franklin and Filmore Avenue. Soul food fans will be pleased to know the menu will be like the "good old days," when Dunbar's was located on Freret Street with lots of all-you-can-eat fried chicken and moist slabs of cornbread for lunch and dinner, will have include some new dishes that they haven't served before. It's hoped that the new location will be open right after Mardi Gras.

Another old location has become new again at the former site of Evelyn's Place, 139 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Local businessman Robert Watters, known for his role in Rick's Cabaret and Rick's Sporting Saloon, opened Backspace Bar & Kitchen. Using the names of famous New Orleans authors to theme the full-service bar, Watters has also installed a brand new kitchen into the restored building that offers a full lunch menu served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy dishes like an "adult" grilled cheese with cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere and a sandwich dubbed the "Whitman," a mouth-watering combination of juicy roast beef and and fried oysters served on ciabatta bread with au jus.

Santa will be bringing us another holiday treat this month when Velvet Espresso Bar opens its second location on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, about a block from Brown's Dairy. Owner Tamara Muro is among the many industry folks, who aim to redevelop this part of Central City with a cafe that will offer the neighborhood her signature pastries, like tea cakes and hand made "pop tarts," plus delicious Intelligentsia and Stumpdown coffee blends. Don't forget, Tamara has also hooked a classic woody trailer to her Mini Cooper and has been scooting about the city offering quality coffee and treats all over town, follow her mobile adventures and find out where she'll be parked next on Twitter @velvettogeaux.

It seems it will be yet another busy month for Papa Noel and that includes his festive Cajun Holiday Tea aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen on Dec. 8. It'll be a kid-centric event with holiday storytelling, activities, an elf magician, face painting, holiday characters, pictures with the fat man himself and the opportunity to hold a live alligator! This magical world of wonder will all take place while cruising down the Mississippi River and munching on delicious hors d'oevres, desserts and candy.

In other news, the ever-popular Chicago-born chain, Morton's The Steakhouse has revealed a brand new look to its Canal Street location. The restaurant has added new carpet, artwork, booths, seating, lighting and a renovated bar which is now incorporated with the dining area. In addition to the modernized décor, Morton's The Steakhouse is also offering an updated menu including incredible dishes like an Ahi Tuna Tower, Braised Short Ribs, mixed grills and fresh fish a la nage. All of these improvements have occurred on the heels of Morton's recent inclusion to the Landry's family of restaurants.

Among other long-awaited events, Pizza Delicious has finally opened at its brand new brick-and-mortar location in Bywater. Only a hop from Markey Park, the new Piety Street pizzeria is now offering its self-named delicious pies on Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. A special pie menu will change daily, but they continuously offer the basics, cheese, pepperoni and their beloved margherita. Aside from their precious pies, Pizza Delicious is also offering a range of pastas (like tagliatelle, penne and

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