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New Orleans' First Ticketed Restaurant Is a Starry Stunner

Ursa Major is now open inside The Paramount, in the budding South Market District.

Ursa Major, the new zodiac and constellation-themed restaurant and lounge from Booty's Street Food team, just opened for dinner-only on May 30, bringing global and primitive small plates and thali (Nepalese-style platters) to the South Market District's Paramount building.

The restaurant—located across the street and caddy corner to the Civic Theater—is the first in what will be an onslaught of big restaurant openings for the budding South Market District in the CBD, including Magasin and Company Burger expansions, the Besh Group's Willa Jean Bakery, as well as hundreds of new apartments and condos, an Ace Hotel, and an impending retail explosion.

Owner Kevin Farrell and team were the sole New Orleans restaurant invited by Nick Kokonas of Alinea to use Tock, Kokonos' exclusive ticketing system for reservations.

While Booty's is all about street food, Ursa Major turns its eye to cuisines from cultures with strong ties to the stars. The same goes for the entire concept, including design. "Everything from the art installations to the seating—you know, no right angles in the booths, just mirroring the lines of constellations—we really just tried to play with those ideas," Farrell notes.

Local woodworker and furniture maker Matthew Holdren is responsible for the bar and gorgeous banquets in Ursa Major [Photo:Brasted]

As for the interior Ursa Major, it's a beauty, with the bar and tables custom built by local woodworker Matthew Holdren, the mastermind behind Booty's build out (as well as The Franklin's and others) and Curbed Young Gun.

The incredible lighting instillation is by New Zealand artist Richard Clarkson. Dozens of globes are actually filled with water and they're high resolution Hubel telescope photos that Clarkson recreated using using black powder, goldleaf, semi-precious gem shards and glitter.They're lit by soft one-watt bulbs. "At nighttime all the wiring disappears... and they all just glow like individual galaxies," owner Kevin Farrell notes.

Ursa Major is currently open nightly for dinner at 5 p.m. Lunch and brunch coming soon. Reservations available here.

Further coverage: Advocate, Gambit, Times-Pic, NoDef

Ursa Major

611 O'Keefe St, New Orleans, LA