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Local Sourcing Pioneer Cowbell Shutters After 12 Years — And More Closings

A running list of notable restaurants and bars that have announced permanent closures

As last year wound down, New Orleans saw an increasing number of restaurants shutter, most citing some combination of Hurricane Ida-related damage or losses and nearly two years of an ongoing pandemic that’s led to massive labor and supply shortages for the food service industry. Of course, restaurants close even when there isn’t an ongoing public health crisis, so here Eater keeps track of all the important food world closures New Orleans diners need to know about in 2022. These are the New Orleans establishments that have closed their doors permanently, rather than temporarily due to pandemic-related circumstances.

See a closing we missed? Drop us a line.

January 14


Husband-and-wife team Brack May and Krista Pendergraft-May opened Cowbell in 2010 at the top of Oak Street where it meets with Leake Avenue along the river, bringing a cool, low-key tavern for high-end but playful versions of comfort food like burgers, mac and cheese, and tacos. Most notably, Brack was one of the first local chefs to work directly with local farmers, producers, and even foragers for menu ingredients, from greens to goat cheese to rabbit. May, who previous worked as culinary director at beloved local nonprofit and culinary training center Liberty’s Kitchen, confirmed to this week that Cowbell has closed for good, following a decision not to renew the lease at the end of 2021. Repeatedly closing and reopening throughout the pandemic has taken its toll, May said, but losses from Hurricane Ida was a deciding factor.

January 5

Dunbar’s Creole Cuisine

Dunbar’s, known as a pre-Katrina destination for Creole cuisine and soul food specialties that launched the greatest restaurant comeback of 2017, has closed its doors for good, nearly five years after its hard-fought revival. Dunbar’s first announced the closure in November on Instagram with text reading “Dunbar’s is closed until further notice,” leaving hope for the possibility of a reopening. However, Tina Dunbar confirmed to this week that the closure is indeed permanent, brought on by the financial hardship imposed by Hurricane Ida during a a time when the restaurant was already struggling. Dunbar says she plans to do some catering, and doesn’t rule out some future iteration of the restaurant, but says it’s simply gotten to be too much.

Big Fisherman’s Seafood

The closure of one of New Orleans’s few remaining seafood markets, Big Fisherman’s Seafood, came as a shock to many. Owner Henry Poynot spoke to about his decision in December, citing declining business and increased competition for items like crawfish, previously a reliable seasonal income, as well as inventory loss resulting from Hurricane Ida. It brings an end to a 32-year history for the small store on the corner Magazine and Toledano Streets, which was loved for its mom-and-pop feel and its high quality, if often limited, selection of seafood. Poynot owns the building, and has not yet announced plans for the property.

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Dunbar's Famous Creole Cuisine

7834 Earhart Boulevard, , LA 70125 (504) 509-6287 Visit Website

Big Fisherman Seafood

3301 Magazine Street, , LA 70115 (504) 897-9907 Visit Website

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