To celebrate the start of baseball season, cities across the Eater universe are offering up guides of where to eat while watching the boys of summer. New Orleans doesn't have a baseball team, but since there's still a few weeks left in the Hornet's basketball season, Eater is taking a look at the best food options in the Arena instead. If you know where to look (hint: avoid any place that serves a "French Quarter Frank"), you can actually get a pretty decent meal while enjoying the New Orleans Hornets (or even the New Orleans Voodoo!) game.
Here, then, is a guide of what to eat in and around New Orleans Arena, and where to find it:
* indicates special Eater recommendations
The Arena's website claims that "for certain events" there's a stand on the ground floor serving food. Eater NOLA doesn't know what "certain events" the website is referring to, but presumably Hornets games are not among them. There is also a supposedly "relaxing" Capital One Lounge.
Half Court Grille, section 104. Forgive them for their cloying use of the word "grille." The burgers really aren't half-bad (that's how low the bar is here). There's another one of these on the 300 Level.
The Fowl Line offers fried chicken and Louisiana seafood.
*Zatarain's, section 111. Along with the Louisiana Seafood stand on the other side of the lower level (see below), the Zatarain's concession stand is one of the only places where Hornets or Voodoo fans can get real, local dishes.
Audubon Café & Winery, section 112. This wine bar at the Arena has just a small handful of food items, including sandwiches on ciabatta and croissants. According to the website they also serve cheese.
Whole Hog Café, section 116. The name makes it seem like there's something nose-to-tail going on here, which is not true. But they do serve pulled pork or pulled chicken barbecue sandwiches.
*Louisiana Seafood, section 122. There's seafood here, but it's primarily in po' boy form. For best results, get the fried shrimp po' boy.
*North Club. Zatarains-branded dishes like jambalaya and red beans & rice, plus food from the downtown restaurant 5 Fifty 5, located inside the Marriott on Canal Street.
South Club. Whereas the North Club features local fare, the South Club is more high-end stadium food. Beef tenderloin sandwiches, foot long hot dogs, and the terrifying-sounding "ultimate nachos."
It's slim pickings up here in the cheap seats. The website touts "the only Latin American style food concept in the building," but seriously, avoid that place. Get Dippin Dots instead. Their stands are basically every fifty feet throughout the arena.
Half Court Grille, section 303. Burgers, just like downstairs.
Stinger Wings, section 311. Exactly what it sounds like: hot wings.
Fowl Line, section 329. More fried chicken, chicken tenders and the like.
Near the Arena, before or after the game
Borgne, 601 Loyola Avenue. The homestyle seafood restaurant from chefs John Besh and Brian Landry is on the bottom floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Loyola Avenue. They have ample room to serve lots of people on game days and, like, when Aerosmith plays or something. Also inside the Hyatt are Vitascope Hall and 8 Block Kitchen & Bar.
Ste. Marie, 930 Poydras Street. This restaurant aspires to be like the great champagne houses of France. It's a solid pre- or post-game stop for appetizers and specialty cocktails.
City Greens, 909 Poydras Street. Soups, sandwiches, salads and more healthy stuff sourced locally. So, completely unlike anything else on this list.