It’s a new year, which means New Orleans diners have new restaurant and bar openings to look forward to, from Uptown to the Seventh Ward. The pandemic rages on along with its impact on New Orleans’s hospitality industry, but the restaurant world forges ahead, with proprietors committed to completing their long-awaited and hard-fought projects.
In just the first few weeks of 2022, New Orleans can expect the debut of a popular food stall’s first restaurant in the CBD and a modern Mexican restaurant on Oak Street. Beyond that, this year looks promising for the eagerly anticipated return of Vaucresson’s to the Seventh Ward, a restaurant from local culinary heir Dook Chase, and a contemporary French brasserie from a powerhouse chef and sommelier duo. Here are five of the most anticipated New Orleans restaurants of 2022.
Opening dates are always a moving target, now more than ever. Did we miss one? Let us know.
Dook Chase Restaurant
Where: 1315 Gravier St., CBD
When: Spring 2022
As Tulane University continues its rapid expansion into downtown New Orleans, there is one bright spot ahead: a restaurant from Edgar “Dook” Chase IV, grandson of the legendary Dooky Chase’s restaurant founder and culinary icon Leah Chase and her husband Dooky Chase. The restaurant, still unnamed, will serve breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch with live jazz, and grab-and-go items on the bottom floor of Tulane’s new apartment building, Thirteen15. It’s the third restaurant for the younger Chase, who first set out on his own with Leah’s Kitchen and Dook’s Place in the New Orleans airport, opened in 2019 when the new terminal debuted. While menu details are scarce so far, diners can expect some of the burgers and sandwiches served at Dook’s Place and classics from Leah’s Kitchen, as well as what Chase says is his take on New Orleans cuisine — including gumbo, of course.
Where: 942 N. Rampart St.
When: Early 2022
By far one of the most exciting restaurants set for 2022 is from New Orleans chef Tom Branighan and sommelier Molly Wismeier, MaMou, replacing the now-closed, long-loved neighborhood bistro Meauxbar. Branighan has worked at a number of top local spots over the years, but most recently cooked at the former Longway Tavern, a spot that quickly became known for its small plates despite being billed as a bar. Wismeier has worked as beverage director for French Quarter fine-dining destination Restaurant R’evolution, a restaurant long known for its wine list. Meauxbar had a few aesthetic iterations over the years, and a refresh of the space is almost as exciting as the powerhouse duo behind the forthcoming restaurant.
Where: 8201 Oak Street, Uptown
When: February 2022
The latest word from Julio Machado, chef and co-owner of Metairie’s vibrant Tacos del Cartel, is that Uptowners can expect Mucho Mas in February, after experiencing the commonly shared challenges to reaching opening day right now. For Machado’s second restaurant, he’s taking over the Oak Street space that was previously home to much-loved DTB (the address was briefly home to a seafood restaurant following DTB’s closure). Machado, along with his two partners, is renovating the space to bring an eye-catching vibe, though Machado says Mucho Más will be “modern and trendy” and look different from Tacos del Cartel. The menu will differ as well, with a greater focus on traditional, regional Mexican dishes like carne asada tasajo and snapper a la talla, with many dishes grilled on charcoal.
Where: 611 O’Keefe Ave., CBD
When: Early 2022
Look out for the grand opening of Tava this month, set to bring new life to the former Company Burger downtown, an address largely at the mercy of CBD office workers. Tava, the delicious pop-up-turned-food-stall, is becoming a permanent restaurant this year, bringing a much-needed addition to New Orleans’s fairly limited options for Indian cuisine. Manish Patel’s contemporary takes on Indian street food are exceptional, from the Chana salad to sleek kati rolls and the signature, Tava’s Bombay sandwich — soft, masala-tinged potatoes with melty cheese, tamarind, and mint chutney served between slices of toasted French bread.
Vaucresson’s Creole Cafe
Where: 1800 St. Bernard Ave.
When: Early 2022
Held up by the never-ending pandemic, Vaucresson Sausage Co. is expected to return to New Orleans’s Seventh Ward in 2022, including Vaucresson’s Creole Cafe, at the corner of St. Bernard Avenue and North Roman Street. The new venture is from Vance Vaucresson, owner of Vaucresson’s Sausage Co., and his wife Julie, who runs the iconic business with him, with involvement from Dook Chase. Vance is the third generation to run the century-old butcher and legendary Jazz Fest food vendor, and he’s spent the last two years developing plans to build a multi-faceted business in the company’s former Seventh Ward address — a Creole restaurant, deli, market, and butcher all in one.
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