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Man Chu Food Store is known for yakamein and fried chicken.

These Are New Orleans’ Essential Corner Stores (With Great Food)

Documentarian Julia Elizabeth Evans shares her favorite corner spots to grab a great lunch

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Man Chu Food Store is known for yakamein and fried chicken.

Walk into any longstanding New Orleans neighborhood and chances are, it’s only a matter a minutes before a person will come across a corner store, or at least its architectural legacy.

A hundred years ago, when New Orleans was decidedly more dense and pedestrian, the city was able to sustain hundreds of such mom and pop stores. With low start up costs and free labor supplied by family members, corner stores were often the domain of recently arrived immigrants from Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Such corner groceries not only supplied basics but often became hubs of local gossip and news. Many contained a bar as well.

As today, corner stores were met with mixed reactions. Some saw them as friendly neighborhood anchors while others perceived them as encouraging drunkenness and violence.

And while it may seem as though New Orleans still contains a multitude of these icons embedded deep into the fabric of its neighborhoods, only a fraction of the city’s original corner stores survive. Some buildings have fallen prey to rot and storm; rising real estate prices have prompted others to be converted to private residences or decidedly more upscale eateries, such as La Petite Grocery (whose walls were once home to two groceries for nearly a century). With the rise of the automobile combined with the post-war boom, a new grocery model — the supermarket — emerged, leaving independent corner groceries to eek out a precarious existence.

Today slim profit margins mean that corner stores often struggle to survive. Gentrification also plays a part, notes documentary film maker Julia Elizabeth Evans. “Newer demographics may not appreciate the culture or this model.”

Evans’ 30 minute film Corner Stores unofficially debuts at Frady’s One-Stop Food Store Friday, November 24 at 6 p.m. Funded in part by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and the Tricentennial Story Incubators, Corner Stores highlights the stories of four small groceries and pays tribute to what Evans sees as a cultural institution in danger. “The film is time sensitive,” says Evans. “We’re losing stores each year. More close than open.”

Despite the odds, Evans says, corner stores can thrive if they adapt to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood and inspire loyalty. “These are gathering places. People have to want to be there,” she explains. “And the food has to be good. Many of these places survive on hot plates and daily specials. You might expect the food to all be synonymous, like a chain. It’s not. Even in the most dingy stores, there’s solid recipes.”

Evans’ shoots for Corner Stores took her to over 50 corner stores; here are her picks, in no particular order, for some the best of the city’s corner eats.

Don’t see your favorite spot here? Leave a comment and spread the word.

Note: These corner stores are arranged geographically, not by ranking.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Singleton's Mini Mart

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7446 Garfield St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 866-4741
Visit Website

While longtime owners Beau and Laura Nguyen serve up homemade Vietnemese-inspired pho and chicken wings every day of the week, the real draw of this well-maintained Black Pearl gem comes down to two essential words for Evans: Uptown Thursdays. “Thursdays Beau and Laura serve ‘off the menu’. That means five Korean pork tacos and either a can of Pale Ale or a shot of scotch for $5.” Unlike some corner spots, solid tables and a TV set-up mean patrons linger to chat. “Between bites, swap hiking stories with a Tulane student or mingle with Beau and Laura, the neighborhood’s most in-love husband and wife.” 

Singleton’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

2. Jake’s Uptown Supermarket

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1940 Dante St
New Orleans, LA 70118

Come lunch, this Carrollton corner store does a solid hot plate business among on-the-go tradesmen. Rotating specials include stuffed peppers, smothered turkey necks, red beans, fried catfish, mac and chees,e and greens. Looking to host quick? Jake’s carries the goods for an impromptu barbecue: an extensive beer selection, including local craft brews, and a genuine meat counter. 

Jake’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

3. Red Rooster Snowball Stand

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2801 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 895-6786

For those looking for an alternative to a poboy or perhaps a hangover cure, Evans recommends a stop in this Central City corner spot for a piping hot bowl of Red-Rooster’s “yet-ca-mein” or yakamein, New Orleans’ take on beef noodle and egg soup. For more yakamein spots, here’s a map.

Red Rooster
Julia Elizabeth Evans

4. Orleans Food Store

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2835 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

After four feet of flood water in August 2017 destroyed the store’s inventory and refrigerators, this Mid-City corner spot of 30 years nearly had to fold. But support from neighbors, daily lunch specials, including a superlative red beans and rice plate, have kept Orleans Food Store open for business. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Orleans Discout Market
Julia Elizabeth Evans

5. Man Chu Food Store

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1413 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 947-5507

Despite sitting in the shadow of the 1-10 overpass, purple-hued Manchu continues to draw lines for its fried chicken. “Two years ago I was standing on the corner of Claiborne and Esplanade shooting second line footage. It was the first day of shooting for Corner Stores,” Evan recalls. “Out of deep foodie passion and pure New Orleans kindness, one of the dancers ordered me a 6-piece meal of Manchu fried chicken. Supremely seasoned. Cooked to perfection. Manchu, I love you.” Manchu, also known for yakamein, is on Eater’s list of 38 essential New Orleans restaurants.

Josh Brasted

6. Verti Marte

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1201 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4767
Visit Website

No list would be complete without it. In a neighborhood geared towards high-end table service, Verti Marte offers a welcome, budget-friendly respite. The oyster and shrimp and dripping “all that jazz” poboys have been saving incalculable numbers of the late night hordes from the mother of all hangovers for years. A wide ranging menu includes the usual suspects but also breakfast and Italian-inspired pasta. 

Note: Take out and cash only. Service can be slow when crowded.

Verti Marte
Julia Elizabeth Evans

7. Algiers Central Market Inc

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840 Teche St
New Orleans, LA 70114
(504) 324-8975

This is Evans go-to “cornerstore.” Photos of regulars decorate the counter in this “supremely picturesque spot.” Friendly customers and a chatty clerk full of stories, including those about Nicholas Cage who was a regular for a time, add to the appeal. Evans pick? Cold beer and a roast beef po-boy. 

Algiers Central Grocery
Julia Elizabeth Evans

8. Mardi Gras Zone

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2706 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 947-8787
Visit Website

“Don’t be fooled by the plain, brick entryway—Mardi Gras Zone is an almost mythical touchstone in New Orleans’ wild rough of corner stores,” says Evans. She suggests starting with an elephant-ear sized slice of pizza (vegan available) fresh out of the wood-burning stove. If it’s Monday, be prepared to stand in line as red beans and rice are on the house.

Also worthy: the Zone’s unimaginably vast non-alcoholic drink selection. Evans notes part of the fun is simply combing the aisle for “essentials you never knew you needed: mushroom rice burgers, barley wheat juice powder, raisin olive chutney? Still bored?” Upstairs an all-year-round carnival party awaits, replete with beads, hats, masks, feather boas. Open 24/7.

Mardi Gras Zone
Julia Elizabeth Evans

9. Frady's One Stop Food Store

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3231 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 949-9688

Off-beat decor, outlandish stories, and longtime characters spell “a good feeling” for Evans whenever she steps into this Bywater corner spot. “It’s the kind of corner store you write home to your mother about. I did,” she says. Menus include tiny muffalettas, stuffed mirliton, a Thursday beef liver and onion plate, as well as the $5 “grumpy old man” breakfast plate. 

Frady’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

10. Mike's Food Store

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3708 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 942-2448

Pizza and inexpensive, flavorful vegan fare draw Evans to this Bywater corner spot. “In the back hides an unexpected, delicious food discovery called the ‘Pizza Garage,’ she says. “Caribbean flavors offer a bite of the unexpected. If you’re a regular, Chef Karen will whip you up a personal dish.”  

Mike’s Food Store
Julia Elizabeth Evans

1. Singleton's Mini Mart

7446 Garfield St, New Orleans, LA 70118
Singleton’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

While longtime owners Beau and Laura Nguyen serve up homemade Vietnemese-inspired pho and chicken wings every day of the week, the real draw of this well-maintained Black Pearl gem comes down to two essential words for Evans: Uptown Thursdays. “Thursdays Beau and Laura serve ‘off the menu’. That means five Korean pork tacos and either a can of Pale Ale or a shot of scotch for $5.” Unlike some corner spots, solid tables and a TV set-up mean patrons linger to chat. “Between bites, swap hiking stories with a Tulane student or mingle with Beau and Laura, the neighborhood’s most in-love husband and wife.” 

7446 Garfield St
New Orleans, LA 70118

2. Jake’s Uptown Supermarket

1940 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118
Jake’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

Come lunch, this Carrollton corner store does a solid hot plate business among on-the-go tradesmen. Rotating specials include stuffed peppers, smothered turkey necks, red beans, fried catfish, mac and chees,e and greens. Looking to host quick? Jake’s carries the goods for an impromptu barbecue: an extensive beer selection, including local craft brews, and a genuine meat counter. 

1940 Dante St
New Orleans, LA 70118

3. Red Rooster Snowball Stand

2801 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
Red Rooster
Julia Elizabeth Evans

For those looking for an alternative to a poboy or perhaps a hangover cure, Evans recommends a stop in this Central City corner spot for a piping hot bowl of Red-Rooster’s “yet-ca-mein” or yakamein, New Orleans’ take on beef noodle and egg soup. For more yakamein spots, here’s a map.

2801 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113

4. Orleans Food Store

2835 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Orleans Discout Market
Julia Elizabeth Evans

After four feet of flood water in August 2017 destroyed the store’s inventory and refrigerators, this Mid-City corner spot of 30 years nearly had to fold. But support from neighbors, daily lunch specials, including a superlative red beans and rice plate, have kept Orleans Food Store open for business. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

2835 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

5. Man Chu Food Store

1413 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Josh Brasted

Despite sitting in the shadow of the 1-10 overpass, purple-hued Manchu continues to draw lines for its fried chicken. “Two years ago I was standing on the corner of Claiborne and Esplanade shooting second line footage. It was the first day of shooting for Corner Stores,” Evan recalls. “Out of deep foodie passion and pure New Orleans kindness, one of the dancers ordered me a 6-piece meal of Manchu fried chicken. Supremely seasoned. Cooked to perfection. Manchu, I love you.” Manchu, also known for yakamein, is on Eater’s list of 38 essential New Orleans restaurants.

1413 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116

6. Verti Marte

1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Verti Marte
Julia Elizabeth Evans

No list would be complete without it. In a neighborhood geared towards high-end table service, Verti Marte offers a welcome, budget-friendly respite. The oyster and shrimp and dripping “all that jazz” poboys have been saving incalculable numbers of the late night hordes from the mother of all hangovers for years. A wide ranging menu includes the usual suspects but also breakfast and Italian-inspired pasta. 

Note: Take out and cash only. Service can be slow when crowded.

1201 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116

7. Algiers Central Market Inc

840 Teche St, New Orleans, LA 70114
Algiers Central Grocery
Julia Elizabeth Evans

This is Evans go-to “cornerstore.” Photos of regulars decorate the counter in this “supremely picturesque spot.” Friendly customers and a chatty clerk full of stories, including those about Nicholas Cage who was a regular for a time, add to the appeal. Evans pick? Cold beer and a roast beef po-boy. 

840 Teche St
New Orleans, LA 70114

8. Mardi Gras Zone

2706 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70117
Mardi Gras Zone
Julia Elizabeth Evans

“Don’t be fooled by the plain, brick entryway—Mardi Gras Zone is an almost mythical touchstone in New Orleans’ wild rough of corner stores,” says Evans. She suggests starting with an elephant-ear sized slice of pizza (vegan available) fresh out of the wood-burning stove. If it’s Monday, be prepared to stand in line as red beans and rice are on the house.

Also worthy: the Zone’s unimaginably vast non-alcoholic drink selection. Evans notes part of the fun is simply combing the aisle for “essentials you never knew you needed: mushroom rice burgers, barley wheat juice powder, raisin olive chutney? Still bored?” Upstairs an all-year-round carnival party awaits, replete with beads, hats, masks, feather boas. Open 24/7.

2706 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70117

9. Frady's One Stop Food Store

3231 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117
Frady’s
Julia Elizabeth Evans

Off-beat decor, outlandish stories, and longtime characters spell “a good feeling” for Evans whenever she steps into this Bywater corner spot. “It’s the kind of corner store you write home to your mother about. I did,” she says. Menus include tiny muffalettas, stuffed mirliton, a Thursday beef liver and onion plate, as well as the $5 “grumpy old man” breakfast plate. 

3231 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117

10. Mike's Food Store

3708 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
Mike’s Food Store
Julia Elizabeth Evans

Pizza and inexpensive, flavorful vegan fare draw Evans to this Bywater corner spot. “In the back hides an unexpected, delicious food discovery called the ‘Pizza Garage,’ she says. “Caribbean flavors offer a bite of the unexpected. If you’re a regular, Chef Karen will whip you up a personal dish.”  

3708 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117

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