Ah, fall. The kids head back to school and sky-high temperatures finally break. Established restaurants breathe a sigh of relief that they’ve made it through the summer doldrums, and new restaurants put the finishing touches on their menus as they prepare for a debut.
While opening deadlines always tend to shift, here’s what to expect to see opening on the restaurant front over the next few months.
Location: 2441 Orleans Avenue
Key Players: Greg and Mary Sonnier
Projected Opening: Mid-September 2017
Greg and Mary Sonnier are putting the finishing touches on Gabrielle’s new location, a former Chinese restaurant and grocery around the corner from New Orleans institution Dooky Chase. The search for a new home lasted over a decade. After years of wrestling with locations and permits, the Sonniers painted their post-Katrina comeback in the familiar blue and yellow of the original restaurant. Expect new dishes on the menu next to some of the most popular dishes from the original Gabrielle.
POKE LOA (OLD METAIRIE LOCATION OPEN)
Locations: 939 Girod Street (South Market District) and 701 Metairie Road (Old Metairie)
Key Players: Joe Reiss, Emily Chandler, Katherine Elias, Kristi Ellender, Cecile Tanguis, Jeanne Higgins, and Betsy Hildenbrand
Projected Opening: Both locations will land sometime this fall.
The Hawaiian poke craze took the U.S. mainland by storm, and now home-grown Poke Loa is taking New Orleans by storm, with two new locations coming hot on the heels of the original Magazine Street location’s summer debut. Expect the same build-your-own raw fish bowl concept, but with the addition of a mochi bar.
Location: 3301 Bienville at N. Rendon (Mid City)
Key Players: David and Virginia Demarest, Leighann Smith, Fiona Delargy, and Dean DiSalvo
Projected Opening: October 1
Piece of Meat is a full sit-down restaurant and retail butcher shop. Most of the seating is outside, but there are ten spots at a bar where guests can watch pigs being broken down and transformed into sausage — all while the guests are dining. The new restaurant and butcher shop is from team behind Bayou Beer Garden and Bayou Wine Garden. Originally, it was to be called Bayou Meat Market.
Location: 845 Carondelet Street, just a block away from the the location of the original in the Warehouse District
Projected Opening: September or October 2017
The Warehouse District lost a favorite happy hour margarita and taco spot a few months ago, but the restaurant was quick to make a comeback with the announcement that it had found a new location just a block from the original. Expect an expanded menu and more seating, including an outdoor area. Also expect the same great happy hour.
Location: 301 Royal Street, at the corner of Royal and Bienville (French Quarter)
Key Players: Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts
Projected Opening: Mid- to late September
The ever-expanding restaurant empire, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, is opening Curio, serving “American cuisine with a Creole soul.” Situated among the Royal Street antique shops, the building housed a meat market two centuries ago. Hayley Vanvleet, former sous chef and Peche and butcher at Cochon Butcher, will lead the kitchen.
Location: 6101 Magazine Street, near Audubon Park
Key Player: Maxwell Eaton, an avid cyclist who studied nutrition at Tulane
Projected Opening: Early fall
Max Well, New Orleans, a new salad and cold-pressed juice cafe, takes over the spot that was formerly the home of Fresh Bar with an organic, plant-based menu that revolves around fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Opening hours will span breakfast to early evening seven days a week with counter service and some grab-and-go meals. Expect an overnight matcha oat bowl, oat groats, salads, and fresh juice.