Where Y'Eat: A Breakfast Boom Gets Cracking
New Orleans asked for more breakfast, and New Orleans restaurateurs listened. All over town, a new crop of breakfast specialists have appeared. Ian McNulty explores the trend.
Sometimes it’s phrased as a question, and sometimes it’s just a complaint. But whichever form it takes, one of the refrains I hear so often about the New Orleans restaurant scene is a request for more breakfast. It is not a patient request. In fact, it seems like every time someone brings it up, they are hungry, in desperate need of coffee and not interested in mincing words.
Evidently, the local restaurant community has gotten the message. From Uptown restaurant rows to the revitalizing downtown stretches of Canal Street to a dead end street in Mid-City, more and more restaurants are emerging to field the morning meal. Breakfast is their business, and it seems business is good.
There are a few trends at play here. One is the recent return of the neighborhood bakery around New Orleans. Bakers and pastry chefs have been opening more small shops, and with their traditionally early hours many of them double as breakfast spots. One example is Laurel Street Bakery, which recently relocated from its longtime home Uptown to a new spot in Broadmoor. Meanwhile, the bakery Tartine is expanding into Laurel Street’s old space — on Laurel Street, of course. This new place, coming soon, will be called Toast and it will be all about breakfast.
Combine the new Laurel Street Bakery in Broadmoor with the nearby Gracious Bakery and the new Ye Olde Bake Shoppe, from the Ye Olde College Inn folks, and you find what amounts to a Bermuda triangle of bakery breakfast options all close together. Another cluster has developed in Mid-City. Just maneuver around the logjam of road construction barriers on Banks Street these days and you’ll find Biscuits & Buns on Banks, which specializes, naturally in biscuits. Then, right across the street, there’s the memorably named Wakin’ Bakin’, which in this case means they’re waking up to bake you breads and English muffins for breakfast plates. Just next door, the restaurant Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. gives its own brunch service a go on Sundays.
The list goes on. G&O Food Company in the CBD, Live Oak Café in Carrollton, Manhattan Jack and Rivista Café along Magazine Street, HiVolt and District Donuts in the Lower Garden District, Petite Amelie in the French Quarter, even the walk-up stand Pagoda Café on Bayou Road — all these are independent boutique breakfast spots new to the scene.
But then, there are also the big boys of breakfast. From its start as a neighborhood breakfast joint in Mandeville, back in the 1990s, the Broken Egg Café has grown into a regional chain of restaurants, all called Another Broken Egg. Its first franchise in New Orleans opened Uptown last month, and a second is slated to open in Lakeview next week. More are in the works.
And then there’s the Ruby Slipper Café, a homespun spot that has become something of a breakfast brand. In January, the family owners opened their fourth Ruby Slipper, this time on Canal Street in the CBD. This new restaurant is just five blocks from another Ruby Slipper on Magazine Street. On the map, they look practically on top of each other. But as we’re learning, when New Orleans wakes up hungry, breakfast can never be too close.
Details on those new breakfast spots:
Another Broken Egg Café
2917 Magazine St., (504) 301-2771; 607 Harrison Ave., (504) 301-4667 (opening Feb. 10); anotherbrokenegg.com
Biscuits and Buns on Banks
4337 Banks St., 504-273-4600; biscuitsandbunsonbanks.com
Crescent Pie & Sausage Co.
4400 Banks St., 504-482-2426; crescentpieandsausage.com
District Donuts Sliders Brew
2209 Magazine St., 504-570-6945; donutsandsliders.com
G&O Food Co.
935 Gravier St., 504-267-7088; gravierandokeefe.com
1000 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 504-301-3709; www.graciousbakery.com
1829 Sophie Wright Pl., 504-324-8818; hivoltcoffee.com
Laurel Street Bakery
2701 S. Broad St., 504-897-0576; laurelstreetbakery.com
Live Oak Café
8140 Oak St., 504-265-0050
4930 Prytania St., 504-357-2003
1403 N. Dorgenois St., 504-644-4178; pagodacafe.net
800 Royal St., 504-412-8065; petiteamelie.net
4226 Magazine St., 504-371-5558
Ruby Slipper Café
2001 Burgundy St.; 200 Magazine St.; 139 S. Cortez St.; 1005 Canal St., (504) 525-9355; therubyslippercafe.net
7217 Perrier St., 504-866-4860; tartineneworleans.com
Toast at Laurel
5433 Laurel St., phone n.a. (opening mid-Feb.)
4408 Banks St., 504-252-0343; wakinbakin.com
Ye Olde Bake Shoppe
3000 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-418-6072; yeoldebakeshoppe.com