El Cucuy serves up Mexican street food in the Irish Channel

Austin Lane wants you to come over and enjoy some delicious food at his house. No …seriously. Lane’s restaurant, El Cucuy on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Irish Channel, is serving up Mexican food in a house that he once called home, until he decided to convert it into a funky taco restaurant and bar. Lane had lived in the home for two years when he decided to do the big conversion. The result reflects Lane’s background in restaurants and real estate; El Cucuy is the perfect blend of both.

Viewpoint: At CR Coffee Shop, it’s about the coffee

Local roaster and coffee aficionado Kevin Pedeaux didn’t intend to open his Uptown coffee house, CR Coffee Shop, a few months before a pandemic hit. However, that’s exactly what happened after his grand opening in October 2019. A year later, it was a success story, bucking a lamentable trend that has seen established local coffee houses — like Café Luna and Hey! Café & Coffee Roastery — shutter along the Magazine Street corridor. Despite the unexpected trajectory of 2020 and City Hall’s ever-evolving COVID-19 decisions, the coffee shop in a white shotgun house, down the block from Magazine Street’s Ace Hardware and cater-corner to Lilette, has steadfastly remained open.

Lilly’s Café planning second location in the Garden District

The owner of Lilly’s Café, a popular Vietnamese restaurant in the Lower Garden District, is planning to open a second Lilly’s farther up Magazine Street. Lilly Vuong, who runs the 8-year-old restaurant with family members, told Garden District neighbors in a Neighborhood Participation Project letter that she recently purchased the cottage at 3329 Magazine St. to open a second Vietnamese restaurant. Before that can happen, she needs approval from the City Planning Commission and the City Council; a restaurant is only allowed as a conditional use in the district. A hearing is on the Planning Commission’s Jan.

Touchless supermarket opens in Broadmoor

EZgo Markets in Broadmoor, the city’s first locally-owned, completely touchless grocery store, held its grand opening on Tuesday (Dec. 15). EZgo Markets on the South Claiborne corridor at Delachaise Street offers more than 2,000 items, according to a press release. Customers order online, and the items are delivered to their homes or picked up at the store. Items on the EZgo site include a limited selection of fresh produce, meat and seafood, and a wider array of other grocery items such as dairy products, snacks, frozen food and pet food.

Glowing up with the Columns: Rejuvenation is a natural progression for this storied gathering place

It wouldn’t be overreaching to say the Columns is beloved by generations of New Orleanians, as well as those visiting the city. The large front porch framed by imposing Doric-style columns has been a favorite for cocktails and watching the scene unfold along St. Charles Avenue. Charming and old world, it is a place where first dates, proposals, break-ups and the accompanying drowning of sorrows, sharing of secrets, love-at-first-sight, weddings, debutante soirees and celebratory fetes happen on a daily basis. If walls could talk, the Columns’ walls could fill three volumes, easily.

Patios, a porch and the PPP offered lifeline to Delachaise bistros

When The Delachaise first opened at 3442 St. Charles Ave. 17 years ago, it had a patch of grass out front where owner Evan Hayes hoped to build an outdoor space. Then 10 years ago, Entergy tore up that section of the avenue to install a new gas line, and Hayes used the opportunity to pave the area and create a patio. “That doubled our business,” he said.

New Orleans Thanksgiving 2020: Socially distanced Creole Oyster Dressing

Below is the Oyster Dressing recipe I’ve prepared since 2006. It was recorded at the elbow of my cousin Velma, then 93. At 4-foot-10, still whip-smart and eternally feisty, she bossily instructed me in “the right way” to prepare the family dressing for an “authentic Creole New Orleans Thanksgiving.” Her recipe cards and everything else she’d owned were stolen a year before “by that hussy Katrina,” her sobriquet for the hurricane. The recipe she passed down that day, first prepared by her family in the 1800s, had been committed to memory during Prohibition.

Magazine Street welcomes new take on Thai from BRG restaurant group

 

Jimmy Cho, the chef and owner of the Cho Thai — a recent addition to Magazine Street in the Irish Channel — has operated the West Bank favorite Banana Blossom since 2009. One of the repeat customers at that Thai fusion restaurant happened to be a partner at BRG Hospitality, the rebranded John Besh group whose holdings include August, Pizza Domenica and Shaya. He liked the food at Banana Blossom so much he approached Cho joining the BRG’s restaurants. Cho signed a contract with BRG in November 2019, and the redesign of the interior space at 3218 Magazine St. was set to begin in the new year.

In the middle of a pandemic, this Uptown restaurateur opens a second eatery

Things got off to a very confusing start in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic for Tal Sharon. His restaurant, Tal’s Hummus, on the corner of Magazine and Bordeaux, specializes in Israeli street food, and like other business, it went through a period of turmoil. After the pandemic hit, things were unclear from all perspectives – from the supply chain to the regulations to the customers. And then there was the instituting of all the protective equipment and protocols to keep both employees and the public safe. “After two or three weeks, things normalized to the point that we were able to at least survive – to keep our doors open and keep our employees,” said chef and owner Sharon (pronounced Sharr-rhone).

Paradigm Gardens offers bumper crop of activities on Sunday mornings

The Paradigm Gardens Plant Sale, held Sunday mornings in the shadow of the Pontchartrain Expressway in Central City, offers not just pots of herbs and tomatoes but a chance to enjoy an outdoor, socially distanced brunch and concert. The brunch on Sunday (Oct. 11) included food from Coquette restaurant and the vocal stylings of Robin Barnes. Plus, goats — all in a gorgeous garden. The sale of the plants and brunch items helps finance the Paradigm Gardens School — the only K-12 garden school in Louisiana.