Those who visit New Orleans with the hopes of spotting a real vampire and locals who enjoy a side of intrigue with their meal will find a seat waiting for them at the newly-opened New Orleans Vampire Cafe, which opened on New Year's Day 2021 at 801 Royal Street, just behind St. Louis Cathedral. The sunny, inviting spot is a welcome respite in the bleeding heart of the French Quarter where you can grab a quick bite before your travels or rest a while and watch the world go by.
The New Orleans Vampire Cafe is owned by Marita Woywod Crandle, owner of Boutique de Vampyre and Bourbon Street speakeasy Potions, as well as author of New Orleans Vampires: History and Legend and Josie Arlington's Storyville. This vampy cafe was a natural fit for her brand when the restaurant that formerly occupied the space shuttered. "When I first came here, I fell in love with the city, and I never left. I didn't believe in ghosts before I moved here, and now I absolutely do. There's something here. I think it's because of the history of the city and the culture with the pirates, brothels, prisoners, and all the strange ways people died here—things like that don't just happen anywhere. People come here to disappear. People want to be here for a reason: the food, the music, the camaraderie, family. But there's still that underlying element."
Despite the darkness that lurks around every corner in this part of the city, the New Orleans Vampire Cafe is bright and lovely. There are little touches of decadence and vampirism when you look closer, but the true focus here is on the amazing food served every day beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 11 p.m. Marita hopes to have her restaurant operate for 24 hours soon enough to give a home to the underserved service industry workers and those who shun the sunlight.
On this sunny Sunday, I was delighted to have a charcuterie board that was served with a Vampire Wine flight, all reds. You can thank Marita for getting Vampire Wines and their blood red vodka to the city originally. I very much appreciated the informative sheet that came along with the flight. I felt like I really got into seeing what meat/cheese combination went with what wine varietal.
Then came the Fried Deviled Eggs with a topping of black caviar, served on black slate, and the towering Vampire Burger which came branded with a haunting V on the brioche bun. The huge half brisket/half ground beef patty is topped with Gruyere cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a smoky, savory vampire cream sauce. It was truly one of the most flavorful and exciting burgers I've ever tasted. The homemade chips were a perfect compliment as they just melted away on the tongue. Humans and vampires of all tastes can find something delectable on the menu here. Other delicacies served include Southern favorites like Shrimp & Grits, filling Pappardelle pasta, and steamy pan-seared Scallops.
No meal here would be complete without some Vampire Wine Fangria served in a blood bag. Think of how that will look on your Instagram! You can also get a taste of the other side by indulging in a tea leaf reading.
With warm, pleasant weather in the forecast, now is the best time to take a leisurely stroll through the French Quarter and visit the New Orleans Vampire Cafe. Mortals beware: you may develop a different taste by the time you leave!