2023 is another promising year for exciting New Orleans restaurant debuts, ranging from an outpost of a world-renowned NYC bar to first-time shops from hugely popular homegrown pop-ups. In just the first few months of the year, there are restaurants lined up from Chris Dupont, the acclaimed chef behind Birmingham, Alabama’s renowned Cafe Dupont; the partners behind Uptown’s hit Spanish restaurant Costera; and the couple who built a devoted fan following with a pandemic-born ice cream pop-up. From the French Quarter to Metairie, here are just eight of the most anticipated restaurant openings for the year so far, arranged alphabetically.
Opening dates are always a moving target, now more than ever. Did we miss one? Let us know.
The Dead Rabbit
Where: 616 Conti Street
When: Winter 2023
First announced back in 2019, this critically-acclaimed and heavily-awarded cocktail bar in New York’s Financial District is openings its second location in New Orleans’s French Quarter. Jack McGarry and team will open Dead Rabbit NOLA this year on Conti Street, ahead of a US and global expansion that originally aimed to see ten new sites open over the next ten years. The Conti Street address for the bar apparently shares similarities with the original bar — it’s a tri-level space, and owners plan to create a different vibe per floor — a “cozy” taproom and courtyard on the ground floor. a dining room and balcony seating on the second floor; and a mostly standing atmosphere revolving around the balcony on the third.
Where: 3607 Magazine Street
When: Spring 2023
Étoile is from Chris Dupont, a celebrated Birmingham, Alabama chef who helped raise the city’s culinary profile as chef and owner of Cafe Dupont for 20 years. Dupont left that restaurant last year to relocate his family to his native New Orleans and open what he said would be his “last” restaurant in the former Magazine Street location of Cavan — though that space has been used as a film set for AMC series The Driver for the last few months. While menu details for the forthcoming restaurant remain guarded, Dupont is emphasizing technique and products, much like at Cafe Dupont, an upscale spot serving modern Southern cuisine.
Where: 3987 Tchoupitoulas Street
When: Spring 2023
Not all sandwiches are po’ boys, but most in New Orleans are. That’s partly why Francolini’s emerged as a hit pop-up in 2022, bringing a rarely-found sandwich style to the area. These are Italian deli sandwiches found in owner Tara Francolini’s home state of New Jersey: sesame-topped subs overflowing with prosciutto, mortadella, salami, capicola, provolone, and dressed with vinaigrette; breaded chicken cutlets and roasted red peppers topped with melted mozzarella; meatballs in sauce; and pork sausage with broccoli raab. These high-quality and carefully made sandwiches aren’t cheap, but they’re sure to satisfy (and maybe even make for two meals). For now, you can catch these sandwiches at Rabbit’s Foot — follow on Instagram.
Where: 4201 Magazine Street
When: Fall 2023
The family behind the highly acclaimed contemporary Indian restaurant Saffron is opening their second project this year, just across Magazine street in the former location of Vietnamese restaurant Magasin. Called Kingsway, the Vilkhu family will take a different tack, blending East Asian and French flavors to create a modern approach to New American cuisine. The restaurant, which will be similarly upscale as Saffron, is expected in the fall after significant renovations to the former Magasin space.
Lucy Boone Ice Cream
Where: 3918 Baronne Street
When: Winter/Spring 2023
A number of remarkable New Orleans ice cream pop-ups emerged during the pandemic, among them Lucy Boone. Now, devoted fans of the small-batch, artisan scoops and pints can look forward to a standalone shop in the Milan area, not too far from Mosquito Supper Club. Customers can expect ice cream pies and sandwiches in addition to fresh ice cream flavors (think blackberry lemon curd and babka chocolate chip) soon — the couple behind the pop-up, Abby Boone and Aaron Schnell, recently ended their longtime run at Port Orleans Brewing Co. to focus on the forthcoming shop.
Where: 4609 Magazine Street
When: Spring 2023
The former chef de cuisine of Warehouse District favorite Peche, Brian Burns, and a longtime Link group manager and sommelier, Reno De Ranieiri, are planning their second restaurant to follow up Costera. Osteria Lupo, now under construction at 4609 Magazine Street, is expected to open this spring with northern Italian cuisine — with an emphasis on pasta, pizza, and roasted meats — about four years after the pair opened Costera, an upscale destination for traditional Spanish specialties.
ShaSha Lounge: Social Aid and Pleasure Club
When: Sometime in 2023
Nina Compton and her business partner and husband Larry Miller are working on their third New Orleans restaurant — an NFT cocktail club and lounge backed by a slew of other celebrity chefs from around the country. They’re partnering with chefs Stephanie Izard, Marc Forgione, Michelle Bernstein, Rodney Scott, and Tiffani Faison for the forthcoming lounge, where memberships will be sold as NFTs, and members “unlock” access to the club and special events. It’s the latest in a wave of planned NFT restaurants; what differentiates ShaSha Lounge from other NFT restaurants, the group says, is that a portion of membership and lounge sales will be “reserved to help support future disaster relief in the region.”
Where: 2929 Metairie Road
When: Summer 2023
Tana is the newest restaurant from the MoPho team (owned by Michael Gulotta and his partners Jeff Gulotta and Jeffrey Bybee; Maypop is owned by Gulotta and Bybee) — a group that once also ran a popular pop-up by the same name. That pop-up, an ambitious Italian kitchen inside the now-closed Mid City bar Trèo, served Sicilian-style plates like garlic spaghetti with clams and sausage and grilled snapper with harissa-roasted cauliflower, quickly becoming a favorite among critics. Gulotta’s reincarnation of Tana, done in partnership with Bybee, will be a 5,000 square foot, “upscale Italian” restaurant and bar that will feature a pasta bar and serve Sicilian dishes influenced by Gulotta’s great-grandmother, Gaetana — nicknamed Tana.