Maypop, the hotly-anticipated Southeast Asian meets Southeast Louisianan eatery from the acclaimed MoPho team is now open inside the booming Paramount building in the South Market District.
The restaurant actually snuck open just before Christmas in the former short lived Ursa Major spot and is just getting warmed up. The revamped layout features a design from Farouki Farouki, with a large wall that appears as a map of the Mississippi from one angle and the Mekong delta from another. There’s a sleek charcuterie case, a mural of Maypop flowers by artist Kimberly Miles Sanders. Planters hold philodendron that will soon grow down the windows and the section between the bar and dining area, adding much needed greenery to the industrial space.
Despite its expansive appearance, Maypop actually has a tad less seating than MoPho (when you take into account MoPho’s outdoor area), with space for about 80, including twelve seats at the bar.
It’s the newest concept from chef Michael Gulotta and his partners Jeff Gulotta and Jeffrey Bybee, who also run popular pop-ups Tana at Treo and Rum & The Lash at Finn McCool’s.
Maypop, however, is a sleek new concept with an eye toward refinement. The menu combines the best hits of MoPho’s “middle section” (where you’d find the clams, paella, and lamb entrees) with new dishes that draw inspiration from Sicilian, Creole and Cajun cuisines. There are dishes that are odes to red beans and rice, pho and gumbo, but they are wildly different than what you’d expect. In other words, you won’t be finding red beans and rice, pho or gumbo on the menu, just their flavor profiles.
“We don’t need to do pho or banh mi here,” Gulotta tells Eater. “We have Magasin Kitchen in the building.”
Along with Maypop’s chef de cuisine Will "Trey" Smith, Gulotta has curated a menu loaded with interesting curries (a grapefruit curry accompanies pampano), housemade charcuterie and noodles, and numerous intriguing fermented items and creative sauces (a tar-black aoili is made from local soy mash, served as part of the best new fried oyster dish in town).
As for the bar, you’ll find negronis and moscow mules on tap along with a few local brews. There’s craft drinks (and lots of housemade infusions) and wine. A coffee program is in the works, with French Market coffee being the choice bean.