New Orleans diners can look forward to an abundance of exciting restaurant openings in 2023, a wide-ranging slew of debuts to include cocktail lounges, Irish bars, ice cream shops, and Sicilian trattorias. As the year shapes up, it turns out the bulk of them are expected sometime this spring, just in time to capture spring festival attendees before the heat keeps many at bay. In just the next few months, there are restaurants lined up from Chris Dupont, the acclaimed Birmingham, Alabama chef opening his “last” restaurant in New Orleans; the team behind hit Spanish restaurant Costera; and Larry Morrow, the entrepreneur with a knack for building hotspots. Here are five of the most anticipated restaurant openings for Spring 2023, arranged alphabetically.
Opening dates are always a moving target. Did we miss one? Let us know.
Where: 3607 Magazine Street
When: Spring 2023
After 30 years leading Birmingham, Alabama’s farm-to-table dining scene, celebrated chef Chris Dupont left his restaurant Cafe Dupont to relocate his family to his native New Orleans and open what he says will be his “last” restaurant. Called Étoile, it’s taking shape in the picturesque Magazine Street mansion formerly home to Cavan — a space most recently used as a film set for AMC series The Driver. While menu details for the forthcoming restaurant remain guarded, Dupont’s cuisine is known to emphasize French techniques and regional, seasonal products, much like at his acclaimed Cafe Dupont, an upscale spot serving modern Southern cuisine.
Where: 3987 Tchoupitoulas Street
When: Spring 2023
The buzz is buzzing around Francolini’s hit Italian deli sandwiches, founded as a 2022 pop-up by Tara Francolini and Cesar Nunez in a nod to Francolini’s home state of New Jersey. A permanent restaurant is coming soon on Tchoupitoulas Street, where the duo will serve sesame-topped subs — baked by Ayu Bakehouse — overflowing with prosciutto, mortadella, salami, capicola, and provolone; breaded chicken cutlets and roasted red peppers topped with melted mozzarella; meatballs in sauce; and pork sausage with broccoli raab. These hyper-specific and incredibly delicious sandwiches can be found via catering and for pick-up at Rabbit’s Foot — follow on Instagram for availability and progress on the restaurant.
Where: 4206 Magazine Street
When: Late spring 2023
Perhaps one of the most anticipated restaurants planned for 2023 is Hungry Eyes, a first-time dinner venture from the team behind daytime favorites Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine. It’s a 40-seat, full-service restaurant in the works for the former Uptown home of Red Gravy, which is getting a makeover with the help of architect Cicada and contractor NFT. The opening team includes Turkey and the Wolf founder Mason Hereford, his wife Lauren Agudo, Turkey and the Wolf chef Phil Cenac, Turkey and the Wolf general manager Kate Mirante, and New Orleans bartender Carlos Quinonez, who will run the cocktail program. While food details are still scarce, the bar program is central to the marketing, with a promise of “zippy wine” and classic martinis to accompany an overall ’80s theme and aesthetic.
Where: 4609 Magazine Street
When: Early spring 2023
Following up Costera, an elegant Spanish restaurant great for celebrations, is Osteria Lupo, a similarly upscale Magazine Street restaurant focusing on Northern Italian cuisine. Featuring a lounge area, small dining room, and bar with an overhead door to open on prime nights, the restaurant is from Costera partners Brian Burns, the former chef de cuisine of Donald Link seafood favorite Peche, and Reno De Ranieiri, a longtime Link group manager and sommelier. While the menu is still in development, the duo has shared a few pasta-heavy specifics: radiatori with Louisiana blue crab; campanella with porcini, maitake, and shiitake; and seared scallops with asparagus risotto.
Where: 240 Decatur Street
When: March 2023
Entrepreneur and restaurant proprietor Larry Morrow is continuing his successful expansion throughout New Orleans alongside his mother and restaurant chef Lenora Chong, with two recently announced projects to add to his list: Sun Chong and Morrow’s Steak & Seafood. While the steakhouse set for Julia Street is sure to debut as a hotspot, particularly interesting is Sun Chong, an Asian-American restaurant and bar in the French Quarter inspired by Morrow’s grandmother. Morrow, who says he is drawing heavily from Korean styles for décor and design, calls Sun Chong a “celebration” of the legacy of his grandmother, and that he intends to tell that story. It’s expected to open in late March.