Fall is one of the most wonderful seasons in the restaurant industry. Sky-high temperatures finally break. Established restaurants breathe a sigh of relief that they’ve made it through the summer doldrums. Big-ticket restaurants put the finishing touches on their menus as they prepare for a debut. And it’s when Eater launches fall previews across the entire network.
This fall promises to hum with exciting new restaurants from La Petite Grocery’s Justin Devillier, August’s Todd Pulsinelli, Turkey and the Wolf’s Mason Hereford, Commander’s Palace’s Tory McPhail, and so many more.
Expect restaurants that promise picnics, French brasserie experiences, food inspired by ‘90s hip hop — and one that will make the brandy crusta your new favorite drink (if it’s not already).
Here are New Orleans nine most exciting restaurants to look out for this fall.
(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: 225 Chartres St., French Quarter (former home of Hurwitz Mintz furniture store, near Hotel Monteleone)
Major Players: Justin Deviller and Mia Freiberger-Devillier
The Situation: La Petite Grocery’s celebrated chef Justin Devillier and Mia Freiberger-Devillier are dashing toward the opening of Justine, a 200-seat French-brasserie style restaurant with multiple dining rooms, outdoor seating, and an open kitchen in the French Quarter. (The restaurant’s name comes from the way the French pronounce Devillier’s first name.)
Award-winning design team, Farouki Farouki, is planning a classy and playful French brasserie vibe painting a picture of the “culturally interconnected histories of Paris and New Orleans but with a modern brush.”
Design highlights include items the team brought back from Paris (a hand-painted, pressed tin marquee from a French agriculture festival to hang above the open kitchen; a 20-foot long antique zinc bar top; and a six-foot tall, 19th-century cast iron statue), as well as a mural celebrating New Orleans’ tricentennial from artist Ellen Macomber.
Projected Opening: Late fall 2018
Location: 1026 St. Louis Street, French Quarter
Major Players: Nick Detrich and Chris Hannah
The Situation: Chris Hannah’s name and image have been synonymous with Arnaud’s French 75 bar for the last 14 years, culminating in a James Beard Award in 2017. Earlier this year, the first signs of his departure were evident when he opened the little Cuban joint, Manolito, with fellow big deal bartender Nick Detrich, who had made a name for himself with the proto-tiki concept Cane & Table that he left in March 2017.
Now the pair are back at it again with Jewel of the South, a fine dining eatery in the French Quarter that will pay homage to a 19th century establishment by the same name. Interestingly, it was also the birthplace of the brandy crusta (Hannah’s bartending contributions at the French 75 during his 14 years there include putting this historic cocktail back on the menu).
Plans for the restaurant include both upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, a courtyard, 19th-century furniture including an antique bar originally from London, and a menu focused on highlighting the city’s culinary history.
Projected Opening: Fall 2018
Location: 2368 Magazine Street, Irish Channel (formerly Magazine Street Po-Boy Shop)
The Situation: Following the off-the-charts debut of sandwich shop Turkey & the Wolf, owner and chef Mason Hereford is getting into the breakfast business with Molly’s Rise and Shine (named for his youngest sister). Chef de cuisine Colleen Quarls (she’s leaving Turkey &t the Wolf to helm the Molly’s kitchen) and Hereford are plotting a slightly less cheeky menu with both basic breakfast items as well as kookier dishes like a “Grand Slam McMuffin” with sausage patties, American cheese, grilled onions, and ketchup on an English muffin made at Molly’s and described as a mash-up of Waffle House and McDonald’s.
Meanwhile, Turkey and the Wolf’s GM Kate Mirante is moving over to Molly’s to run the dining room (which will be filled with plastic lunch boxes, a fishless fish tank, and murals from the same artist who painted the exterior of Turkey & the Wolf). Opening hours will start out as 8 a.m to 3 p.m.
Projected Opening: November 2018
Location: 741 State Street, Uptown (formerly Noodle & Pie)
Major Players: Commander’s Palace co-owner, Ti Martin; Commander’s Palace chef, Tory McPhail; Reginelli’s owner, Darryl Reginelli
The Situation: Picnic Provisions & Whiskey is bringing a menu of classic Southern dishes, picnic standards like fried chicken, and cocktails to the corner of Magazine and State very soon with options for dine-in, carry-out, delivery, and catering. James Beard Award-winning chef Tory McPhail has done the difficult work preparing for the easy-going new cafe, visiting over 80 fried chicken restaurants this year (fully chronicled on his Instagram account).
“While the restaurant won’t have Reidel stemware, you can bet that we will have an amazing cocktail and wine selection – and there will be a Miss Ella Old Fashioned on the menu,” Ti Martin said.
Projected Opening: September 10, 2018
Location: 1009 Poydras Street, CBD (most recently home to Happy’s Irish Pub, but more importantly, the longtime home of Maylie’s)
Major Players: Hospitality entrepreneur Kyle Brechtel
The Situation: Kyle Brechtel’s new CBD wine tavern aimed at “democratizing wine” is acutely raising the bar for both wine taverns and Poydras Street eateries with 30 wines on tap, a clever menu from 2015 King of Louisiana Seafood Michael Brewer, and an “airy, dapper” redo of its historic home with ample indoor and outdoor seating.
Projected Opening: Very soon
Location: 3218 Magazine Street (in the former home of Amici restaurant, which closed in January)
Major Players: Todd Pulsinelli and BRG Hospitality (formerly Besh Restaurant Group)
The Situation: Warbucks, likely to be a gladly received departure from some of the more buttoned-up restaurants from BRG Hospitality (August, Borgne, Luke), will open on Magazine Street with a menu and vibe inspired by ‘90s rap, skateboarding, and hip-hop culture. (The restaurant’s name comes from executive chef and partner Todd Pulsinelli’s rapper persona.)
Pulsinelli, who recently left BRG flagship August to open Warbucks will bring the fine-dining technique he’s known for to more offbeat dishes, like shrimp rings with fingerlime cocktail sauce, burrata and short rib hand pies, oxtail-stuffed tater tots with blackberry ketchup, and Zapps-crusted drum with green gribiche. Warbucks will open for lunch and dinner daily with a full bar serving up classics, wine, beer, and large-format cocktails.
BRG Hospitality was previously known as Besh Restaurant Group. John Besh stepped down from day-to-day operations after dozens of sexual harassment allegations against the group surfaced.
Projected Opening: Late fall 2018
Location: 201 Baronne Street, CBD (in the Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza Hotel near the new Pythian Market)
Major Players: Mother and son team, Sandra Duckworth and Corey Duckworth
The Situation: Sassafras, a Gentilly restaurant known for Creole soul food like stuffed bell peppers, seafood pasta, and fried catfish-topped with shrimp étouffée, is opening its second location as part of the Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza Hotel in the CBD. While the menu will mostly stay the same, the new restaurant will have a full bar and serve brunch on the weekends.
Projected Opening: September 2018
Location: 3117 Magazine Street (formerly Fleurty Girl, a retail shop owned by Ryan Haydel’s wife)
Major Players: Ryan Haydel, a third-gen Haydel baker
The Situation: The beloved, nearly 60-year old bakery is making its very first expansion with a “satellite store” on Magazine Street this fall. The petite Haydel’s Bake Shop won’t actually bake anything onsite though. Instead, it’ll source everything (petit fours, 6-inch cakes, and other popular items) from the original Jeff Highway location.
The original Haydel’s arrived in 1959 when Lloyd Haydel took over the Sunny Flake Bakery— because he wanted to turn it into a trampoline center. It didn’t work, so Lloyd Haydel reverted to what did work, namely doughnuts. Since then, the bakery has expanded into cakes, pastries, Hubig’s-like hand pies, king cakes, and king cake stunts. Other than holding the title to world’s largest king cake, the bakery bangs out 60,000 of those gems every Carnival season — and now they’ll be conveniently located in a new bake shop.
Projected Opening: Early October 2018
Location: 1035 Decatur Street, French Quarter
Major Players: Cara and Evan Benson
The Situation: Toast, the sleek little cafe known for its French omelettes, crepes, the Danish pancake balls known as aebleskivers, will its third location, called French Toast, on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. Owners and chefs Cara and Evan Benson started their cafe mini-empire in 2010 with Tartine, a quiet breakfast and lunch cafe nestled near the river in Uptown’s Black Pearl neighborhood before opening Toast near Octavia Books. This will be the third location under the Toast brand. The new French Quarter cafe will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m
Projected Opening: September 2018
Eater New Orleans is also watching Saint Germain in the Bywater, which originally planned on a late summer opening; chic, vegan spot Seed’s Marigny expansion planned for September; and new Tchoupitoulas taco stand, Barracuda.
Additionally, Eater New Orleans is watching for updates on Sue Zemanick’s plans for the Carrollton spot that housed Rue 127 and Coquette’s Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus’ Thalia in the old Shamrock Tavern. Neither could be reached at the time of this posting.