It may be the slow season, but a handful of high-profile restaurants are scheduled to join the New Orleans dining scene in the coming months, including a few held over from the spring. Here’s a roster of the most anticipated openings coming to NOLA this summer.
Who: Gabriele Bonci, chef/owner of Rome-based Bonci
What: New Orleans’s Warehouse District will be the third U.S. location of Italy’s Bonci Pizza, which made its U.S. debut in Chicago in Summer 2017. The style of pizza is called “al taglio,” a rectangular slab of dough cut into slices with scissors and sold by weight, similar to focaccia. Bonci is known for its heirloom wheat-based dough, produce from biodynamic sources, and Italian cured meats and cheeses. For the 50-seat restaurant on Julia Street, Bonci will introduce a muffuletta pizza.
Where: 730 Julia Street in the ground floor of The Julia, a new $50 million mixed-use development in the Warehouse District.
When: Early July 2019
Who: Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, owners of Coquette
What: The 37-seat restaurant on the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets will be a more casual counterpart to Coquette, with plans to be kid-friendly, affordable, and to eventually host neighborhood events and gatherings. While the menu remains a bit of a mystery, the info so far is that offerings will include “creative interpretations” of familiar snacks, salads, and pastas, as well as themed “daily rituals” like Tuesday Schnitzel Night and Saturday Steak Night. Thalia will be open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a daily happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: 1245 Constance Street, LGD (in the old Shamrock Tavern)
When: Originally slated to open the second week of June, you can likely expect Thalia to open in the next month.
Who: Bill Jones, formerly Cochon and Cochon Butcher, and Richard Horner, formerly Coquette
What: The idea to open a “straightforward” Chinese-American restaurant in the Lower Garden District was born over drinks at neighborhood watering hole Barrel Proof, and the LGD has eagerly awaited the addition ever since. Horner will run the bar and dining room while Jones will run the kitchen, with plans for a menu that includes peking duck, fried rice, egg foo young, shrimp wontons, blue crab rangoon, and dan dan noodles.
Location: 1300 Magazine Street, Lower Garden District
When: Originally projected to open in April; now expected sometime this summer.
True Food Kitchen
Who: Original True Food owners Centerbridge Partners, Oprah (as investor), and Audubon Capital Partners
What: True Food Kitchen is an Oprah-backed, rapidly expanding health-conscious restaurant chain with nearly 30 locations in 15 U.S. states and 11 more opening soon. The menu focuses on vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options and brings in Mediterranean and Asian flavors, but is more about ingredients than a certain cuisine. True Food says it uses healthy, seasonal, “sustainable,” and organic ingredients in line with the heavily-debated “anti-inflammatory” diet. The casual, full-service restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, and serves wine, local beer, and cocktails made with fresh juice and house-made syrups.
Where: 801 St. Charles Ave., Warehouse District, also in The Julia
When: Summer 2019
Who: Rue Bourbon Hospitality, Laura Belluci, former head bartender at SoBou, and Hayley Vanvleet, opening chef of Curio.
What: Belle Epoque is an absinthe-and-cocktail-lounge extension of Bourbon Street’s Old Absinthe House, and will be operated under event management company Rue Bourbon, interestingly. Vanvleet is serving as executive chef, with menu items like French onion pot pie, stuffed chicken wings with whipped foie gras and a trio of oysters with absinthe mignonette. While cocktails will indeed be absinthe-focused, with Belluci at the helm you can expect them to remain delicate and light in the best way possible.
Where: Behind the Old Absinthe House at 238 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter
When: September 2019