The culinary history of 1117 Decatur St. in New Orleans’s French Quarter is a rich one, creating big expectations and high hopes for Saint John, a new restaurant opening at the address on Wednesday, October 6.
Chef Eric Cook has brought life to the former Maximo’s (which was more recently Trinity), with Saint John, the highly-anticipated restaurant to follow up his hit LGD restaurant Gris-Gris, which Cook opened in 2018. Saint John offers a decidedly different menu, one that skews more contemporary Creole than Gris-Gris’s contemporary Southern. Dishes like slow braised smothered turkey necks, chicken and shrimp maque choux, courtbouillon, and pork belly cassoulet are informed by Cook, a New Orleans native, and chef de cuisine Daren Porretto’s research of 18th century Creole cuisine, of traditional Sunday dinners, and of the influences that helped create New Orleans cuisine: Italian, French, Spanish, African, German, Caribbean.
There are two dining areas on the first floor of Saint John, one with a long, open chef’s table that runs parallel to another seating area, where elevated booths each feature a piece of stained glass art by Deurty Boys, a French Quarter studio from local artists Jeremy Hebert and Rev. Varg Vargas. Deurty Boys is also behind a large, three-dimensional mural made up of depictions and tributes to deceased local chefs and hospitality industry leaders, which sits above the other dining area, where there’s also a bar. A staircase leading to the second story dining room is lined with Saint John’s “Guardians of Groove,” a play on beloved local radio station WWOZ’s tagline, done by Jay Setchim of Kudra Beetz. The upstairs dining room also has balcony seating, and is available to rent out for private events.
Beginning Wednesday, October 6, Saint John will serve lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday.