Since the last preview of New Orleans’s most anticipated restaurants, the city has seen the arrival of its first omakase sushi bar, a Chinese-American hotspot join the LGD’s booming dining scene, and a beloved Jazz Fest vendor open a restaurant Uptown.
Spring 2020 should bring further noteworthy debuts, from a young NOLA native’s Viet-Cajun cuisine to a courtyard-centric restaurant from the team behind acclaimed cocktail bar Cure, as well as a few left over from winter. For the rest of the year, we’re keeping an eye on the forthcoming French Quarter location of a famed NYC cocktail bar and a prolific Austin restaurant group’s expansion to New Orleans.
Here now, Eater’s roster of the most anticipated openings coming to New Orleans this spring.
Who: The CureCo team, including Matthew Kohnke, Neal Bodenheimer, Turk Dietrich, and Cane & Table chef Fredo Nogueira as a new partner in the group.
What: Vals is described as a casual, laid-back restaurant and bar with traditional and regional Mexican cuisine and a focus on agave spirits. Floor plans show a 3,000-square-foot indoor area and a large outdoor dining space of more than 1,000 square feet, just off the sidewalk on Freret Street. Nogueira, who became known at Cane & Table for light, cocktail-friendly cuisine combining Caribbean, Cajun, and Cuban flavors, is creating a menu of tacos, tostadas, and ceviches. Turk Dietrich will manage the spirits program.
Where: 4632 Freret St., in a former service station at the corner of Valence and Freret.
When: Spring 2020
What: The Bower will reportedly sell “elevated new American cuisine with with a focus on vegetables and close ties to a local farm,” Sugar Roots. Examples from the menu include whole branzino with fennel; charred rapini with blueberries; and mussels with nduja, cherry tomatoes, fennel, and garganega. The 68-seat restaurant is named after a type of garden trellis, which will play into the design aesthetic with an emphasis on plants.
Where: 1320 Magazine St., in the Lower Garden District’s new Framework development.
When: March 2020
Who: Owner Nahum Laventhal recruited former Portland chef and New Orleans native Anh Luu to lead the kitchen, and Sonny Day, previously at Urban South Brewery and Abita Brewing Co., to oversee the beer.
What: A 75-seat restaurant and microbrewery that will serve five to eight beers and Vietnamese-Cajun mashup items like crawfish etouffee nachos and double-fried chicken wings with brown butter fish sauce. Luu became known for viral phorrito pop-ups and earned rave reviews, including a semifinalist nod for Eater Young Guns 2016, at Portland restaurant Tapalaya.
Where: 3000 Royal St., in a Bywater warehouse building at the corner of Royal and Montegut Streets.
When: April 2020
Who: Budsaba and Jared Mason, the husband and wife team behind Budsi’s Authentic Thai, one of New Orleans’s hottest pop-ups.
What: Mason will bring in items from her Pal’s pop-up menu of Thai cuisine like drunken noodles and spicy papaya salad as well as incorporate specialties from the Isan region of Thailand, where she’s from, like fermented fish and crab som tam. The couple plans to serve lunch, dinner, and potentially late-night meals six days a week with a counter-service model, and will have a full-service bar with Thai cocktails.
Where: 1706 N. Rampart St. in Faubourg Marigny
When: End of April 2020
Who: Austin Lane. Lane is working with New Orleans-based architecture firm Cicada on the design and NFT Group on the construction. The bar program will be run by Jennifer O’Blenis, who has previously bartended at DBA and Mimi’s in the Marigny, among others.
What: Announced to great reader fanfare in October, El Cucuy will be a heavy metal and South American folklore-themed taco restaurant and bar specializing in trompo (spinning rotisserie) al pastor tacos, homemade tortillas, and agave spirits. The space will have a restored Airstream, a large, shaded dining deck, and an “entertainment area” outside as key design elements, in addition to a a smaller interior dining room with a bar.
Where: 3507 Tchoupitoulas St.
When: March 2020
What: LeBlanc + Smith says the 120-seat hotel restaurant will serve “21st century New Orleans” cuisine with global influences; items like rabbit and dumplings; pork cheeks with Coca-Cola fish sauce; and rice porridge and cured egg yolk. Pulsinelli spent years in the kitchen at John Besh’s fine-dining flagship August before landing as head chef for Warbucks, a short-lived spot also from Besh’s group that attempted fanciful takes on comfort food in a casual atmosphere.
Where: 4125 St. Charles Ave.
When: April 2020
Who: Nhat “Nate” Nguyen, the opening chef at Gert Town ramen gem Kin, and Jeff Gapultos, one of the founders of Eiffel Society on St. Charles Avenue.
What: The Vietnamese-born and NOLA-raised chef Nguyen left Kin in 2016 and started operating his own ramen pop-up, Union Ramen. Last May, he announced plans for a casual, counter service restaurant of the same name that will serve a menu of chicken broth-based ramen, poke, and Vietnamese small plates.
Where: 1837 Magazine Street in the LGD, in the former Jim Russell’s Rare Records.
When: Spring 2020
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