[Image by Gustavo Escanelle]

Ten Spots to Eat & Drink During Zulu This Year

07:00 February 02, 2024
By: Eliana Sarfati-Magill
Of all the Mardi Gras krewes, Zulu is one of the oldest and most historically significant. Since before parades had floats, Zulu krewe members marched behind their elected king, a title once held by Louis Armstrong himself. With styles originally conceived in mockery of the conventional white Mardi Gras norms, Zulu is known for being one of the most exuberant parades of the season.

Their legendary coconut throw has long been one of the most coveted pieces of Mardi Gras memorabilia. So when you are heading out to see 2024's Zulu parade on February 13, make sure to stop at the one of the many different restaurants and bars that are along Zulu's route. Here are 10 of the best places grab a bite or take a rest while enjoying the parade.

10 Places to Dine During Zulu

1. Lufu NOLA

301 St. Charles Ave., 504-354-1104, lufunola.com

[Courtesy of Lufu NOLA's Website]

Lufu NOLA is an incredible local Indian spot serving up authentic classics, as well as modern twist on the cuisine. Come take a break from Mardi Gras celebrations and enjoy some delicious fresh food and drinks.

Order a "naanwhich" and delight in the fresh Indian bread filled with tasty rich curries or choose some lighter chaats dressed with house made chutney. Those looking to continue the Mardi Gras spirit with some spirits can also enjoy a booze mango lassi or desi inspired spritz.

2. Cleo's

940 Canal St., 504-522-4504, cleos-mediterranean-cuisine.business.site

[Courtesy of Cleo's Website]

Cleo's is the perfect spot to stop in and grab a delicious bite to eat while watching the parade or taking a much needed rest on Canal Street. Walk into an unassuming convenient store and order some of NOLA's best Mediterranean food, which is known for being available for pickup at all hours of the night.

In the mood for the classic chicken shawarma plate or a falafel wrap? There's no wrong choice at Cleo's. While waiting for the food to be ready, browse the store and pick up some unique international candy and maybe even a soda to go with the meal.

3. Lula Restaurant Distillery

1532 St. Charles Ave., 504-267-7624, lulanola.com

[Courtesy of Lula Restaurant Distillery's Website]

Lula Restaurant Distillery sets itself apart from the rest by creating its own brand of spirits in its in-house micro-distillery. In fact, Lula's bottles of rum, gin, and vodka can even be found in local stores in the Greater New Orleans area.

Try out those different spirits in Lula's different craft cocktails such as the Hurricane, Cucumber Vodka Collins, and the Planters Punch. Pair your drinks with some of the delicious dishes on offer like the lamb chops, blackberry glazed ribs, and the shrimp and grits.

4. Tito's Ceviche & Pisco

1433 St. Charles Ave., 504-354-1342, stcharles.titoscevichepisco.com

[Courtesy of Tito's Ceviche & Pisco's Website]

Those looking for some delicious bites absolutely must grab a table at Tito's Ceviche & Pisco's second location on St. Charles Avenue. The restaurant specializes in Peruvian food and delivers with a wide variety of both light fresh bites and rich tender meat dishes.

There's no wrong option when choosing between Tito's many seafood ceviches offering shrimp, fish, or octopus, which are all marinated in different sauce blends. Make sure to try some of the restaurant's piscos either straight or mixed with other cocktails.

5. Copper Vine

1001 Poydras St., 504-208-9535, coppervine.com

[Courtesy of Copper Vine's Facebook]

The combined vision of Sommelier Emily Walker and Executive Chef Amy Mehrtens, Copper Vine has a collection of over 60 wines paired with brunch, lunch, and dinner menus to satiate those with a taste for the finer things.

Stop by for lunch and try the pork belly and corn fried oysters, as well as one of the very filling main entrees like the short rib ragu or the roasted heritage chicken. Those looking for a sweet treat will be happy to enjoy Copper Vine's beignets and or Bananas Foster. After enjoying a Mardi Gras day full of parading, enjoy Copper Vine's well loved happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

6. Daisy Mae's

920 Poydras St., 504-218-5031, daisydukesrestaurant.com

[Courtesy of Daisy Mae's/Daisy Dukes' Website]

Nestled on Poydras and just a few blocks from the Superdome, Daisy Mae's is a choice spot for Southern comfort and breakfast foods. Fried food and gravy are the cornerstones of any Southern breakfast, and Daisy Mae's traditional chicken & waffles and country fried steak serve as the perfect foundation for a day of Mardi Gras festivities.

Definitely try one of Daisy Mae's specialty omelets like the Greek, the Alligator, and the Cajun. Celebrate Fat Tuesday as it's meant to be, right beside the Zulu procession.

7. The Vieux Carre Lounge

1523 Basin St., 504-679-7392, facebook.com/thevieuxcarrelounge

[Courtesy of The Vieux Carre Lounge's Facebook]

To get a real picture of what a city is, go where the locals go. The Vieux Carre Lounge, titled after the French Quarter's original French name, is a perfect local hangout spot to be at for Zulu.

In addition to its affordable cocktails and beers, the bar gets a lot of love because of its fried seafood nights. Hang out, order a drink or two, and make some new friends while at The Vieux Carre Lounge.

8. Backatown Coffee Parlour

301 Basin St. Suite 1., 504-372-4442, backatownnola.com

[Courtesy of Backatown Coffee Parlour's Website]

Located "not Uptown, not quite Downtown, but Backatown," this coffee parlor prides itself on being a gathering space for locals and out-of-towners alike. Locally owned and carefully curated to reflect New Orleans jazz culture, it's unique aesthetic is very much reflective of its location in historic Storyville.

Enjoy fresh brewed coffee and savory hors d'oeuvres as a mid-parade pick me up. The BBQ crawfish and grits, as well as the raspberry grilled cheese, are highly recommended.

9. Baby's Snack Box

2025 Orleans Ave., 504-304-5970, facebook.com/p/Babys-Snack-Box

[Courtesy of Baby's Snack Box's Facebook]

Baby's is the perfect stop by while watching the parade or waiting for it to finally roll by. Head over the the order window and see the list of daily specials, all of which make for perfect "Southern comfort" parade watching expirence.

Whether choosing a snack of fries or a full meal of fried chicken, gumbo, or anything in between, Baby's is a not to miss spot on Mardi Gras day or any other.

10. Avenue Cafe

1907 Saint Charles Ave., 504-301-2097, avenuecafenola.com/cafe-menu-new-orleans

[Courtesy of Avenue Cafe's Website]

Avenue Cafe is a staple for locals and tourists alike walking along St. Charles. Stop in and choose to order to go or dine in with ample seating. Enjoy a variety of menu options including breakfast egg sandwiches all day, coffee, and even boozy drinks including mimosas with fresh squeezed juice.

Order a mushroom muffin sandwich with goat cheese and green smoothie with avocado to fuel up and recharge for a full and final day of parade fun.

Eat Well and Enjoy Mardi Gras Day 2024

No matter what you choose to eat or how you choose to spend it, make the most of Mardi Gras day. Whether watching Zulu and having tasty local bites, walking in The St. Anne Parade and heading to the quarter, or anything in between, enjoy what New Orleans has to offer and give back all the love and joy that you can to finish off this Mardi Gras season!

And, of course, enjoy and support these local spots all year round as well.

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