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A plate of epis jerk chicken, rice, pikliz, and sauce from Fritai
An epis jerk chicken special from Fritai
Fritai

Where to Eat and Drink in Historic Treme

Where to head when you’re hungry, thirsty, and in need of good music in New Orleans’s Treme neighborhood

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An epis jerk chicken special from Fritai
| Fritai

Considered the oldest African American neighborhood in America, Treme is the epicenter of New Orleans culture, a rich repository of the music, food, history, and celebration that define this city. Geographically, Treme is the swath of land across from the French Quarter between North Rampart and North Broad and from Canal Street to Esplanade. Historically, the neighborhood is known as the first in which African Americans were able to acquire and own property consistently during an era when America was still entrenched in slavery.

While exploring, pay your respects to Treme’s unmatched musical history at the small but mighty Petit Jazz Museum and see eye popping jazz inspired statues at Armstrong Park. Hopefully the Backstreet Cultural Museum, put out of its longtime Treme location by Hurricane Ida in August 2021, will soon find a new home for its Mardi Gras Indian and Second Line collection as intended. When you’re hungry, thirsty, and in need of good music, here are some places to head in the neighborhood, where home cooking and haute cuisine both hold sway.

Did we miss your favorite spot to eat or drink in Treme? Send us an email.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Sweet Soulfood

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The food at this plant-based Creole spot is a revelation, and likely helped kick off the now-common intersection vegan cuisine and soul food found in New Orleans. The cafeteria-style Sweet Soulfood pays homage to New Orleans classics, from serving red beans and rice on Mondays to swapping out fried catfish for fried cauliflower and collards on Fridays. Prices are reasonable, portions are hefty and the menu is so tempting even carnivores won’t miss the meat. Lots of gluten free options too.

Gabrielle Restaurant

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Anchoring Orleans avenue like a cornflower beacon, Gabrielle Restaurant reopened in September, 2017 after an imposed post-Katrina hiatus, swapping up leafy Esplanade for this grittier stretch of the Treme. Chef Greg Sonnier’s award-winning Cajun meets Creole cuisine is impressive at any address, from his legendary slow roasted duck topped with matchstick double-fried cut potatoes to a fragrant bowl of quail gumbo that intoxicates with smoky goodness. His wife and co-owner Mary creates amazing desserts and the restaurant’s cocktail program is also noteworthy. Put Gabrielle on your list for dinner inside the restaurant, Thursday through Saturday.

Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Willie Mae's Scotch House

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Willie Mae’s Scotch House, a Treme tradition since 1957, is all about fried chicken, thickly battered and deep fried. Dubbed the best fried chicken in America by the likes of the James Beard Foundation and the Food Network, that’s for you to decide. Get the white beans for sure, and the fried okra while you devour half a bird and make up your mind.

Willie Mae’s
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Dooky Chase Restaurant

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The late Leah Chase is beloved for so many reasons in New Orleans, and her gumbo, swimming with creatures of land and sea, is one of them. The queen of Creole cuisine, who passed in 2019 at 96, was famously down home and outspoken, even while feeding the likes of Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, and president Barack Obama. A Treme landmark since 1941, Dooky Chase, named for Leah’s late husband, serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, but is also a lovely spot for date night dinner Friday and Saturdays, its red art-filled dining room a romantic setting for fried chicken and shrimp Clemenceau.

A view of a bowl of Creole gumbo and a bread basket on a table with a white tablecloth and red striped chairs.
Dooky Chase’s Gumbo
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I-tal Garden

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The new I-tal Garden on Claiborne — “i-tal” being a play on “vital” — follows in the footsteps of Sweet Soulfood and Vegan Wit’ a Twist before it, serving creative, crave-able vegan soulfood dishes heavy on vegetables, not to mention a robust breakfast menu. The build-your-own-plate lunch option offers plentiful combos of one or two veggie proteins with three sides for $14 and $16, respectively.

Chef Charly Pierre is the force behind Fritai, his modern and traditional Haitian restaurant on the edge of Treme. Fritai, which means fried food, a street snack staple on the island, showcases Pierre’s fine dining chops with dishes like pan roasted fish rubbed with herbs and roasted until crispy, red beans, plantain and Creole sauce on the side. Try the stewed creole chicken, spicy wings flavored with mango and served with avocado dip and the griot po’ boy — think crispy cochon de lait, topped with pikliz — a spicy cabbage, carrot, and chile-laced pickle. The cocktail program is equally great.

Buttermilk Drop Bakery

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Buttermilk Drop Bakery isn’t just a bakery. The busy no-frills location in Treme serves breakfast and sweets to a non-stop line of hungry locals from 6 a.m. daily. If you’ve never had a buttermilk drop, think donut hole on steroids, but even that isn’t quite right. Fried and crispy outside, sweet and yielding at its heart, this is a treat of dreams.

Candlelight Lounge

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The loss of Miss Leona ‘Chine’ Grandison to the coronavirus was a devastating blow to the many neighborhood friends who frequented her bar, the Candlelight Lounge. Treme born and bred, Miss Leona was the glue that held the corner together. The bar continues, always with her in mind, a hole in the wall brought into the limelight by the HBO show Treme. This is the place for strong cash-only drinks and local brass bands, a cultural gumbo that thrums with a welcoming energy. Sometimes there’s homemade gumbo at the bar, other times barbecue outside, but this place isn’t about food.

Candlelight Lounge
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Treme Coffeehouse

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Local Treme bass player Mitchell Player, who can be heard everywhere from Preservation Hall to the Spotted Cat, calls this family owned coffee shop his office. Treme Coffeehouse is a gem; bright, cheery, full of local art, free wifi, tasty savories and sweets, excellent java (yes, including cold brew) small and community minded — all reasons to fuel up here with good food and drink.

Manchu Food Store

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You can smell Manchu a block away from the low-slung purple wingery on Claiborne. Deep fried, fresh, hot, and guaranteed to make you thirsty, these wings are positively addicting. You can get them dipped in barbecue sauce, but why? Fried seafood, ya-ka-mein and po’ boys are also on the menu.

Lil’ Dizzy's Cafe

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The shuttering of this fried chicken and gumbo destination last November was one of the pandemic’s most devastating closures — until the owner’s son and daughter-in-law Wayne Baquet Jr. and his wife Arkesha stepped in to save the day, buying the longtime family business and reopening it in February 2021. Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe has history that reaches deep into the neighborhood, a busy breakfast and lunch joint serving family recipes popular with the after church crowd on Sundays. The Creole gumbo and fried chicken is some of the best in town.

Lil’ Dizzy’s
Brasted

Bullet's Sports Bar

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Although the music schedule is still ramping back up, most weekends you’ll hear local faves like Kermit Ruffins or the Original Pinettes at this friendly neighborhood bar situated at 2442 A.P. Tureaud Avenue, a street named for the civil rights attorney credited with fighting Jim Crow laws in New Orleans. Bullet’s Sports Bar is a mostly locals’ hang, with live music several nights a week and a barbecue wagon typically firing up seasoned ribs, sausages, or chargrilled oysters outside.

Kermit's Treme Mother in Law Lounge

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Originally opened by legendary R&B musician Ernie K-Doe in 1994, the club was run by his widow Antoinette, a shrine to his memory (complete with a life-size Ernie doll!) until her death in 2009. Kermit Ruffins has been running the place since 2014, playing with his band or hosting other local players on the bar’s compact stage. Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge is a great spot to watch the game and there’s usually something tasty on the bar or barbecue outside.

Sweet Soulfood

The food at this plant-based Creole spot is a revelation, and likely helped kick off the now-common intersection vegan cuisine and soul food found in New Orleans. The cafeteria-style Sweet Soulfood pays homage to New Orleans classics, from serving red beans and rice on Mondays to swapping out fried catfish for fried cauliflower and collards on Fridays. Prices are reasonable, portions are hefty and the menu is so tempting even carnivores won’t miss the meat. Lots of gluten free options too.

Gabrielle Restaurant

Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Anchoring Orleans avenue like a cornflower beacon, Gabrielle Restaurant reopened in September, 2017 after an imposed post-Katrina hiatus, swapping up leafy Esplanade for this grittier stretch of the Treme. Chef Greg Sonnier’s award-winning Cajun meets Creole cuisine is impressive at any address, from his legendary slow roasted duck topped with matchstick double-fried cut potatoes to a fragrant bowl of quail gumbo that intoxicates with smoky goodness. His wife and co-owner Mary creates amazing desserts and the restaurant’s cocktail program is also noteworthy. Put Gabrielle on your list for dinner inside the restaurant, Thursday through Saturday.

Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Shrimp pie at Gabrielle
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Willie Mae's Scotch House

Willie Mae’s
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Willie Mae’s Scotch House, a Treme tradition since 1957, is all about fried chicken, thickly battered and deep fried. Dubbed the best fried chicken in America by the likes of the James Beard Foundation and the Food Network, that’s for you to decide. Get the white beans for sure, and the fried okra while you devour half a bird and make up your mind.

Willie Mae’s
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Dooky Chase Restaurant

A view of a bowl of Creole gumbo and a bread basket on a table with a white tablecloth and red striped chairs.
Dooky Chase’s Gumbo
Brasted

The late Leah Chase is beloved for so many reasons in New Orleans, and her gumbo, swimming with creatures of land and sea, is one of them. The queen of Creole cuisine, who passed in 2019 at 96, was famously down home and outspoken, even while feeding the likes of Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, and president Barack Obama. A Treme landmark since 1941, Dooky Chase, named for Leah’s late husband, serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, but is also a lovely spot for date night dinner Friday and Saturdays, its red art-filled dining room a romantic setting for fried chicken and shrimp Clemenceau.

A view of a bowl of Creole gumbo and a bread basket on a table with a white tablecloth and red striped chairs.
Dooky Chase’s Gumbo
Brasted

I-tal Garden

The new I-tal Garden on Claiborne — “i-tal” being a play on “vital” — follows in the footsteps of Sweet Soulfood and Vegan Wit’ a Twist before it, serving creative, crave-able vegan soulfood dishes heavy on vegetables, not to mention a robust breakfast menu. The build-your-own-plate lunch option offers plentiful combos of one or two veggie proteins with three sides for $14 and $16, respectively.

Fritai

Chef Charly Pierre is the force behind Fritai, his modern and traditional Haitian restaurant on the edge of Treme. Fritai, which means fried food, a street snack staple on the island, showcases Pierre’s fine dining chops with dishes like pan roasted fish rubbed with herbs and roasted until crispy, red beans, plantain and Creole sauce on the side. Try the stewed creole chicken, spicy wings flavored with mango and served with avocado dip and the griot po’ boy — think crispy cochon de lait, topped with pikliz — a spicy cabbage, carrot, and chile-laced pickle. The cocktail program is equally great.

Buttermilk Drop Bakery

Buttermilk Drop Bakery isn’t just a bakery. The busy no-frills location in Treme serves breakfast and sweets to a non-stop line of hungry locals from 6 a.m. daily. If you’ve never had a buttermilk drop, think donut hole on steroids, but even that isn’t quite right. Fried and crispy outside, sweet and yielding at its heart, this is a treat of dreams.

Candlelight Lounge

Candlelight Lounge
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The loss of Miss Leona ‘Chine’ Grandison to the coronavirus was a devastating blow to the many neighborhood friends who frequented her bar, the Candlelight Lounge. Treme born and bred, Miss Leona was the glue that held the corner together. The bar continues, always with her in mind, a hole in the wall brought into the limelight by the HBO show Treme. This is the place for strong cash-only drinks and local brass bands, a cultural gumbo that thrums with a welcoming energy. Sometimes there’s homemade gumbo at the bar, other times barbecue outside, but this place isn’t about food.

Candlelight Lounge
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Treme Coffeehouse

Local Treme bass player Mitchell Player, who can be heard everywhere from Preservation Hall to the Spotted Cat, calls this family owned coffee shop his office. Treme Coffeehouse is a gem; bright, cheery, full of local art, free wifi, tasty savories and sweets, excellent java (yes, including cold brew) small and community minded — all reasons to fuel up here with good food and drink.

Manchu Food Store

You can smell Manchu a block away from the low-slung purple wingery on Claiborne. Deep fried, fresh, hot, and guaranteed to make you thirsty, these wings are positively addicting. You can get them dipped in barbecue sauce, but why? Fried seafood, ya-ka-mein and po’ boys are also on the menu.

Lil’ Dizzy's Cafe

Lil’ Dizzy’s
Brasted

The shuttering of this fried chicken and gumbo destination last November was one of the pandemic’s most devastating closures — until the owner’s son and daughter-in-law Wayne Baquet Jr. and his wife Arkesha stepped in to save the day, buying the longtime family business and reopening it in February 2021. Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe has history that reaches deep into the neighborhood, a busy breakfast and lunch joint serving family recipes popular with the after church crowd on Sundays. The Creole gumbo and fried chicken is some of the best in town.

Lil’ Dizzy’s
Brasted

Bullet's Sports Bar

Although the music schedule is still ramping back up, most weekends you’ll hear local faves like Kermit Ruffins or the Original Pinettes at this friendly neighborhood bar situated at 2442 A.P. Tureaud Avenue, a street named for the civil rights attorney credited with fighting Jim Crow laws in New Orleans. Bullet’s Sports Bar is a mostly locals’ hang, with live music several nights a week and a barbecue wagon typically firing up seasoned ribs, sausages, or chargrilled oysters outside.

Kermit's Treme Mother in Law Lounge

Originally opened by legendary R&B musician Ernie K-Doe in 1994, the club was run by his widow Antoinette, a shrine to his memory (complete with a life-size Ernie doll!) until her death in 2009. Kermit Ruffins has been running the place since 2014, playing with his band or hosting other local players on the bar’s compact stage. Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge is a great spot to watch the game and there’s usually something tasty on the bar or barbecue outside.

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