New Orleans has had a number of exciting restaurants open so far this year: Queen Trini Lisa, a Caribbean restaurant specializing in Trinbagonian doubles; Bao Mi, an inventive, fast-casual Vietnamese cafe; and Le Chat Noir, an ambitious bistro from the owner of a beloved breakfast and lunch spot, among others. There are plenty more debuts to look forward to in 2022, including a few that were expected to open this winter but have run into the common — but nevertheless frustrating — setbacks that so often accompany getting a restaurant up and running.
In addition to those holdovers, New Orleans diners can look forward to a dedicated bagel shop and restaurant on the Lafitte Greenway; a contemporary French brasserie from an accomplished chef and sommelier duo; and a Vietnamese bakery and cafe on the West Bank that will offer drive-thru service. Here are five restaurant openings to look forward to in New Orleans this spring.
Opening dates are always a moving target, but now more than ever. Did we miss one? Let us know.
611 O’Keefe Ave., CBD
Tava, the modern Indian kitchen that began as a pop-up before becoming a food stall at Auction House Market, finally has an opening date for its permanent restaurant — this Friday, March 18. From chef Manish Patel, Tava has become known for contemporary takes on Indian street food, from a Chana salad to kati rolls and a Bombay sandwich: masala potatoes with melty cheese, tamarind, and mint chutney between slices of toasted French bread. There are new dishes set to debut along with the restaurant, including vegetable pakora and a version of Chicken 65, a spicy chicken dish hugely popular across South India, using chicken wings.
2606 St. Louis St., Mid City
Among the many independent bakeries to pop up since the beginning of the pandemic, a couple are focused solely on bagels — a void that has long needed filling. Now, one of those pop-ups, Flour Moon Bagels, is set to open a dedicated bagel shop in Mid City, bringing cacio e pepe, pumpernickel, rosemary sea salt, and more bagel varieties to a permanent storefront on the Lafitte Greenway, next to Hey! Cafe. Founder Breanne Kostyk told Eater earlier this year that in addition to selling her bagels, the restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch — bagel sandwiches, tartines, etc. — and smoke its own fish for gravlax and beet-cured salmon. The address has a liquor license, so Kostyk plans to offer bloody marys, DIY mimosas, and eventually frozen drinks, and a large, covered outdoor terrace will be used for seating. If everything proceeds as planned — securing hard-to-find equipment, getting supplies in on time, staffing — Kostyk plans to open Flour Moon Bagels this spring.
433 Lafayette St., Old Gretna
Dough Nguyener’s is a Vietnamese bakery and cafe currently in the works in Old Gretna from Betty Archote, as first reported by NOLA.com, a local restaurateur who runs beloved West Bank restaurant Thanh Thanh, among others, with her family, the Nguyens. The bakery and cafe will serve Vietnamese-style baguettes, doughnuts, breads, and king cakes, as well as breakfast items, both Vietnamese and American favorites. Even more exciting: the bakery will offer drive-thru service, according to its website. It’s projected to open as early as this spring.
942 N. Rampart St. French Quarter
MaMou is one of Eater’s most anticipated restaurants of 2022. The French Quarter brasserie, replacing the now-closed, long-loved neighborhood bistro Meauxbar, is from New Orleans chef Tom Branighan and sommelier Molly Wismeier. Branighan, who teases the forthcoming food as “simple elegant flavors rooted in French technique,” has worked at top local spots over the years; 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. It’s expected to debut after a significant renovation is complete this spring or mid-year.
Dook Chase’s Restaurant
1315 Gravier St., CBD
The CBD set to get 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, as part of Tulane’s expansion downtown. Located on the bottom floor of Tulane’s new apartment building, Thirteen15, the restaurant, still unnamed, will serve breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch with live jazz, and grab-and-go items. It’s Chase’s third restaurant; he has also helped establish Leah’s Kitchen and Dook’s Place in the New Orleans airport 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.
Do you have a restaurant or pop-up tip? Notice a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Let us know.
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