The highly-anticipated small and casual Cuban cafe, El Libre, opens its doors tomorrow, September 16, in the French Quarter. The new cafe seeks to fill a void for healthier, inexpensive delivery options and late night eats for folks who live in the Quarter, as well as breakfast, lunch, coffee and free wifi.
Partners Blake Lindberg, Konrad Kantor and Bruce Fowler renovated the cafe (which once house Meltdown) themselves, including hand-crafted tables from Jeff McRae (who will also help run the kitchen/catering), and artful nods to Papa Hemingway on the wall. The cafe has seating for 20 or so, including outside.
Chef Barbara Stamatelatos' menu features Cubans and build-your-own breakfast items under $10, and there are also dessert items from pastry chef Leah Tenace.
Kantor, a Doris Metropolitan and SoBou bar alum, along with fellow bartender Bazil Zerinsky have created the easy-going and relatively inexpensive bar program featuring crafted daiquiris, Cuba libres and mojitos, in the $6-$8 range.
What's more, the spot will serve food until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making this a very service-industry-friendly spot as well. Zerinksy also created a coffee program, featuring plenty of Cafe Bustelo. This is also one of the only spots in town you can find Cuban soda Ironbeer.
Hours: Monday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wed-Thurs 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday 9 a.m to 2 a.m. Sunday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.