Behind the stick … Chef Nina Compton and her husband Larry Miller have unveiled a new cocktail program, under the direction of recently-appointed Head Bartender Jordan Deis, at their award-winning restaurant Compère Lapin. Dies, who has worked at some of New Orleans' top restaurants, has collaborated with Compton and the restaurant's bar team to create a program featuring new "one-of-a-kind" cocktails complimenting the flavors and dishes at Compère Lapin. "We all have different training and palates, so it is nice to have an assortment of cocktails that reflects our varied backgrounds," says Dies. Sourcing fresh, local ingredients, the bar is offering cocktails like the Crow's Nest made with aged brandy, roasted banana, vermouth, thyme, and three types of fortified wine; Summer of '63 is concocted with Singani 63 brandy and honey; and the Equinox is a frothy combination of gin, Campari, egg white, chartreuse, orgeat, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. 535 Tchoupitoulas St.,
(504) 599-2119, comperelapin.com
Ready diner one! … The hip restaurant and arcade Barcadia on the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Lafayette in the Warehouse District recently unveiled a new, yet familiar, menu with a return to its classics. Fan favorites making a comeback include the Pulled Pork Nachos with chipotle BBQ sauce and pico de gallo, Wisonsin cheese curds that are deep fried and served with ranch dressing or marinara, and the Fried Chicken Sandwich. "Barcadia, with its airy space, connection to Ohm Lounge, entertainment venue, prime location, and food and drink offerings, has it all," says proprietor Billy Blatty. "The menu needs to reflect the desires of our customers, so we're bringing back some old favorites." 601 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 335-1740, barcadiabars.com/barcadia-neworleans
The perfect fit … According to The New Orleans Advocate, Nathan Richard (the King of Louisiana Seafood) has been hired as the new executive chef at Carl Shaubhut's Oak Street restaurant DTB. It seems a perfect fit for Richard who is originally from "down the bayou," aka Thibodaux. Richard was previously the chef at Kingfish and, most recently, Cavan. LeBlanc and Smith have yet to announce his replacement at the Magazine Street restaurant. 8201 Oak St., Ste. 1, (504) 518-6889, dtbnola.com
Freshly-powdered park … After a year-long battle with Morning Call Cafe and much needed renovations to the century-old building, Cafe du Monde has opened its newest location inside New Orleans City Park. Serving those famous beignets and cafe au lait, the casino building evokes accents alluding to the original French Market locale with its green and white striped awnings and marble-topped tables with olive green chairs. Morning Call currently has no location (its shop in Metairie closed after 40 years of business in April 2018), but is planning to reopen elsewhere. 56 Dreyfus Dr., New Orleans City Park, neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/cafe-du-monde
Viva la pizzeria! … Though New Orleans is a town not normally known for its pizza, acclaimed Italian pie joint Bonci chose our city for its third U.S. location. The Roman-style pizza (cut with scissors and sold by weight) recently opened in the Warehouse District in late July. The first restaurant to open inside the Julia mixed-use development, Bonci offers 15 or more different types of pizza featuring thick, focaccia-like crust with rotating topping combinations. 726 Julia St., (504) 766-6071, bonciusa.com
From hola to aloha … Over on Calhoun Street, just a hop from Claiborne Avenue, things they are a-changin'. The last location of Cuban restaurant El Libre has shuttered, and, in its place, launched Aloha Grill and Sushi. Owners Tracey Davenport and her husband Dave Kirtland kicked off Aloha Grill and Sushi inside the Auction House Market. Now they're serving traditional sushi, poke bowls, and more inside their own digs in the Broadmoor neighborhood. 3151 Calhoun St., alohaleinola.com
Moving forward … LeBlanc and Smith just tapped restaurant veteran Cesar Nuñez as their new executive chef for Longway Tavern, their French Quarter restaurant and bar. Over the past 13 years, Nuñez has worked in all of Adolfo Garcia's restaurants and was most recently the chef de cuisine at Coquette. He's a New Orleans native who graduated from Delgado Community College's Culinary arts program and dubs his style as "modern comfort food." Using techniques spotlighting seasonal, local produce and seafood, Nuñez aims to transform the typical notions about bar food. "Cesar is an incredibly accomplished and beloved chef in New Orleans, and we're excited to welcome him to the Longway Tavern family," says Robért LeBlanc, founder of the LeBlanc and Smith hospitality group. 719 Toulouse St., (504) 962-9696, longwaytavern.com
So sad to see you go … As seems the norm in this industry during the summertime, as many restaurants open, others must close. After over half a century in the business of serving hot sausage po-boys (among other items), the iconic Pepto-pink Gene's on the corner of Elysian and St. Claude has shuttered. Longtime owner Eugene "Gene" Theriot is retiring and has sold the building to a developer who plans to build condominiums. It's truly sad to see Gene's Po-Boys go, yet it will long remain in our hearts and memories!
After little more than a year in business, Echo's Pizza in Mid-City has closed. Owners Theresa Galli, Gavin Cady, and Kate Heller decided to shut down and focus on their other businesses, 1000 Figs, Little Fig, and Leo's Bread. Though the neighborhood will greatly miss their focaccia-based sandwiches and tasty pizza pies, there is good news on the horizon. BRG Hospitality has bought the corner business and plans to open a second Pizza Domenica there in the fall.
Finally, Freret Beer Room recently closed their doors through an announcement made in a Facebook post early this August. Though fans are sad to see it go away, owner Eli Gay says there are plans to "install Freret Beer Room Phase 2" and reopen early this fall. "I want to continue to serve as a community gathering place for great beer and food, but I need to do so sustainably, with a more casual, comfortable approach." We're all raising our frothy mugs and looking forward to a brand-new room!