Ten years ago, New Orleans chef Paul Artigues took over the kitchen at the Green Goddess, the Exchange Alley restaurant in the French Quarter that he co-founded in 2009. Now, Green Goddess’s era of serving eclectic, vegetable-forward meals in a courtyard setting is over, but Artigues’s role as head chef will continue when he and his wife Olivia Artigues open a new restaurant and bar in the Marigny tomorrow, January 27.
Breakaway’s R & B, opening Thursday, is taking over the former address of much-loved dive bar Lost Love Lounge, which closed a few months into the pandemic. It is a decidedly different destination than the Green Goddess, Artigues says; that restaurant was quite a departure from most in the city when it debuted, serving vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes with a global spin, like chimichurri with mushrooms and Swedish meatloaf. It closed temporarily in spring 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, reopening for service that fall and remaining open for the next year. After closing for Hurricane Ida and its aftermath at the end of August 2021, the Artigues’s decided not to reopen.
“The Goddess was just such a crazy idea, when Chris DeBarr and I came up with it 13 years ago. The food was sort of way out there, and it was hard to nail down or define what we were doing,” says Artigues. “This gives us a chance to grab onto something I really love. We have the same Green Goddess mentality when it comes to ingredients and sourcing, but for dishes I grew up with, dishes my grandmother made,” Artigues says. “I want to present things that people in New Orleans grew up with.”
The couple first started teasing their new project about two months ago, establishing an Instagram account where they posted hints and, 10 days ago, began a countdown to opening day. The menu is made up of New Orleans staples and daily plates that “you might find at your grandmother’s table,” says Artigues, like gumbo, a beef daube sandwich, crawfish etouffee, fried shrimp, and white beans with ham hock. Still, there are a number of vegan and vegetarian options: vegan gumbo, mushroom fritters, and vegan white beans made with tofu. Happily, the Green Goddess’s beloved wedge salad, which adds avocado, pickled beets, hearts of palm, cucumbers, and green goddess dressing to the traditional version, is on the menu at Breakaway’s.
Breakaway’s will serve one dessert to start, and it’s the ultimate New Orleans treat with a twist: Earl Grey calas (calas being a traditional New Orleans sweet breakfast or dessert of beignet-like, rice-based fried fritters). Artigues says he cooks the rice in sweet Earl Grey tea, and makes the calas using a recipe from New Orleans’s Ursuline nuns — Artigues’s aunt was part of an effort to save the Ursuline convent in the 1960s, he says, and went around town selling calas made from their recipe to fundraise. For drinks, a full bar is complemented by a small menu of sno-ball cocktails: the Green Goblin, made with absinthe, orange liqueur, and lime over shaved ice; the Pretty Baby with nectar cream and vodka; a mint julep; and a sno-ball version of Cafe Brulot, a cocktail normally made by lighting cognac on fire.
Breakaway’s opens at tomorrow, January 27, at 4 p.m., and from then on will be open from noon to midnight, Thursday through Monday.
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