Despite the challenges of the last year and a half, quite a few New Orleans restaurants have opened in the last few months — but sadly some other restaurants, bars, and breweries have shuttered for good over the course of this historically slow season in New Orleans. Some cited the pandemic in general (and, more specifically, problems such as staffing) as the reason; some lost their leases to new landlords or chose not to renew leases that were ending; and others closed to move on to new spaces or projects. Here’s the rundown on the spots the New Orleans area lost in summer 2021, listed alphabetically.
After five years in business, elegant Magazine Street restaurant Cavan closed for good in mid September following Hurricane Ida, with owner Robert LeBlanc citing extensive storm damage, a slower-than-ever summer season, and the ongoing pandemic as contributing factors behind the closure. “We are understaffed and undercapitalized across the board, and if we tried to reopen everything at once, it wouldn’t work. [With] closing Cavan, it’s easier to take the hit myself than to ask others to take a hit,” LeBlanc told Eater earlier this month. The restaurant will continue to host the private events it was previously booked for over the coming months, he says, and he may reassess its future down the line.
The beloved Eat New Orleans closed in June after 15 years in its quiet French Quarter digs, where chef/owner Jarred Zeringue delivered polished breakfast plates and Creole classics like fried catfish, shrimp and grits, and red beans and rice to happy regulars. It’s a loss for the city, but another local breakfast gem, Wakin’ Bakin’ is expanding with a third location there, and Zeringue can be found at Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse in LaPlace overseeing the making of its famous andouille, according to NOLA.com. He’s also working on a cookbook scheduled to come out next year.
After 35 years, Korea House, likely the area’s oldest Korean restaurant, is no more. The second generation of the family took over after In Sook Kang Kim died in 2017, but owners decided to retire in 2020. The Fat City building is now home to a new family restaurant, YuYan Kitchen, serving Mandarin and Cantonese cuisines.
All signs point to delightful Riverbend restaurant La Mansion having closed permanently recently — it’s Google Business listing says as much, it’s marked closed on Yelp; and no one’s answered the phone in for a few weeks (email inquiries have also gone unanswered). Opened in 2015, the husband and wife-run Mexican restaurant was a warm, friendly haven for chips and salsa, strong margaritas, and good chats with Edwin, the owner. There are no signs of anything else moving in yet, permits-wise.
Moe’s Original Bar B Que
Back when the first New Orleans outpost of this Alabama-style barbecue chain opened near the Tulane and Loyola university campuses in 2015, New Orleans was still coming into its own for barbecue. Flash forward six years and New Orleans is known as one of the best barbecue cities around. In June, local franchisees Bryan Hargett and Stephen Lane decided not to renew their Calhoun Street lease, instead closing the Uptown spot to focus on their second location in Metairie, which they opened in 2019.
While Oxlot 9 is across the lake in Covington, its debut still made waves on the South Shore — proprietors Amy and Jeffrey Hansell were highly acclaimed for their modern and ambitious use of the Gulf Coast bounty, drawing many a diner from New Orleans to its digs in the Southern Hotel. The hotel is planning an expansion, its owners told NOLA.com in July, and apparently the plans led to the dissolution of the partnership between the couple and hotel. Earlier in 2021, the couple opened a restaurant in Bay St. Louis called Thorny Oyster. in the newly-built Pearl Hotel, which they continue to operate.
Not long after openings in new digs on Frenchmen Street, the delicious Middle Eastern food stall-turned restaurant Torshi has closed. It took over the former Frenchmen Street Mona’s Cafe back in April after several years operating a stall in St. Roch Market followed by a few months serving out of Marigny restaurant Silk Road, much to the delight of loyalists to Rafik Abohattab’s Egyptian specialties and silky-smooth hummus. The address, 504 Frenchmen Street, sits empty for now.
Trolley Stop Cafe
It’s the latest loss of one of New Orleans’s iconic greasy spoons (following St. Charles Tavern last year), marking a sad reality for the city’s beloved 24/7 eateries. The Trolley Stop Cafe on St. Charles Avenue is permanently closed as of September 2021, reports the Advocate/Times-Picyaune, after 26 years serving breakfast, coffee, and Louisiana favorites to regulars and tourists. It was the focus of a 2019 episode of Gordon Ramsay’s television show 24 Hours to Hell and Back, which showed the menu being overhauled, perhaps to the restaurant’s eventual detriment, and the front facade being made over, likely a more successful update. As of now, no change of permit applications have been filed for the address, and the building’s future is unknown.
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