This is a new quick-stop breakfast joint on Freret Street, which has seen a major revival since Hurricane Katrina. While kolaches might be better known as a Texas breakfast food, this local restaurant got its start in Baton Rouge, thanks to an LSU grad from the Houston area. That fact has given some items on the menu a unique southern Louisiana twist.
BTW: Try the boudin kolache. Its filling is a type of spicy Cajun sausage.
Kolache Kitchen, 4701 Freret St. New Orleans, LA 70115
In a city known for its one-of-a-kind architecture, Pagoda Cafe in the Esplanade Ridge neighborhood is an odd sight. The tiny building — which has a roof resembling the temples that lend the cafe its name — was once home to a dry-cleaning business but now is a bustling and inexpensive breakfast spot. Be sure to hit it on a nice day, because the only seating is outside. And while you should expect to wait in line a few minutes, it’s worth it.
BTW: Try the sausage roll — made with sausage from the nearby family-owned Terranova Supermarket, wrapped in a flaky crust.
Pagoda Cafe, 1430 N. Dorgenois St. New Orleans, LA 70119
While there are many Mexican restaurants in New Orleans, most are really Tex-Mex. But this Mid-City restaurant feels more south of the border. It opened after Hurricane Katrina as the city’s Hispanic population boomed, thanks to those who came to help rebuild the city after the floodwaters receded. Many stayed, and the city’s already diverse culinary scene grew with the addition of restaurants like Guerrero’s, as neighbors call it. The dining room is no frills, but that’s no matter. The service is fast and the food is fantastic.
BTW: Do not eat beforehand. The servings here are enormous.
Taqueria Guerrero, 208 N. Carrollton Ave. New Orleans, LA 70119
(Photo courtesy of Junction/Lloyd Miller)
Once upon a time, the ground floor of this raised-basement home was a neighborhood convenience store where you could grab a cold drink, candy bar or pack of smokes. These days, it’s a burger restaurant with more than three dozen beers on tap and some creative takes on burgers. The owners also run Molly’s at the Market, a French Quarter neighborhood bar, and have brought with them the same welcoming atmosphere that has made Molly’s a longtime local favorite.
BTW: Try the City of New Orleans burger, topped with a fried green tomato and remoulade sauce.
Junction, 3021 St. Claude Ave. New Orleans, LA 70117
Liuzza’s Restaurant and Bar
This is one of those restaurants that looks the same as it did when your grandparents went there when they were your age. And chances are you’ll see several generations sitting at the same table, next to people they’ve known for years. Liuzza’s is the quintessential New Orleans corner restaurant and bar, and it opened a few years after World War II. The menu leans heavily on classic New Orleans fare — po’ boys and fried seafood — and Italian food drowned in red gravy.
BTW: Get a beer in a gigantic frosted mug.
Liuzza’s Restaurant and Bar, 3636 Bienville St. New Orleans, LA 70119
Blue Oak BBQ
New Orleans is known for food, but barbecue really hasn’t been the city’s thing. That’s beginning to change, and one of the best places to sample that scene is Blue Oak BBQ. Located in a former service station, the space — and neighborhood, for that matter — is filled with the smell of smoked meat. The restaurant has won the local Hogs for the Cause barbecue competition, and you can enjoy whatever you order on the outdoor patio.
BTW: Follow Blue Oak on Instagram to get a heads up on special items on the menu.
Blue Oak BBQ, 900 N. Carrollton Ave. New Orleans, LA 70119
The Saint Bar & Lounge
There are dive bars, then there’s the Saint. You’ll probably hear this Lower Garden District bar before you see it when it’s popping on weekends. And many who frequent the Saint probably have never seen it in daylight. It’s dark and cramped, and the music is loud, but it’s open late and the drinks are cheap. Inside, it looks like your grandfather’s den from 1963.
BTW: Take a breather on the back patio every so often.
The Saint Bar & Lounge, 961 St. Mary St. New Orleans, LA 70130
This is a different take on B&B: a bar and baked goods. Bakery Bar is open late and features a full menu, including everything from soul food to meat pies to burgers. But this cozy spot is probably best known for its baked goods, including boozy doberge cake (seven layers of cake with six layers of pudding in between) that you must be 21 or older to buy. Fear not, though, parents: Children are welcome.
BTW: Don’t be afraid to order dessert only — they expect it. But you might want to order just one slice of cake.
Bakery Bar, 1179 Annunciation St. New Orleans, LA 70130