Something fresh is brewing Uptown! Since its inception in 2009, Coast Roast Coffee has served New Orleans with locally brewed coffee, teas, and friendly service. With that spirit in mind, the next evolution of CR Coffee Shop is here! The minds behind the handcrafted beverages are excited to announce the expansion at 3618 Magazine St. and the opening of a private meeting and event space.
It’s one of the best seasons of the year — crawfish season. While crawfish boils might be looking a little different this year, we’re still going to be getting together to safely enjoy some delicious crawfish with our friends. Here are some spots Uptown where you can get your fix. These restaurants and bars ask that you follow all social distancing guidelines, so that everyone can have a good time. Ale on Oak
8124 Oak St.
In New Orleans, Lent marks a culinary tradition as well as a spiritual and liturgical season. Much like the way we eat red beans on Monday, we eat seafood, usually fried catfish, on Lenten Fridays. We search and compare fish fry menus with the same fervor and passion reserved for king cakes only a few days earlier.
New Orleanians mark the beginning of Lent at the stroke of midnight as Mardi Gras ends. Before the embers of Ash Wednesday are wiped from our foreheads, we’ve already started planning the Easter crawfish boils. While Lent marks a time of reflection and penance for practicing Catholics, locals of all religions, or no religion at all, partake in the tradition.
It’s been a busy year for Charles “Pee Wee” Armstrong. I first met Armstrong last January at his restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Peewee’s Crabcakes on the Go was a small location that served delicious crab cakes and other seafood dishes out of a to-go window. The operation was successful, slinging lunch and dinner five days a week. Armstrong, who started cooking professionally when he was 16, first opened Peewee’s Crabcaketes on the Go in 2018 inside On Faith Donuts, a donut shop run by his brother.
A new restaurant and bar that aims to support the business community opened on 4525 Freret St. on Friday. A combination bar, restaurant and workspace, The Business Bar was already packed on opening night when it held a happy hour for entrepreneurs. Laughter and conversation bounced off the walls; some customers grooved in their seats to the R&B music playing overhead, while others mixed business and pleasure as they worked on their laptops while also clinking cocktails with names like “Old Fashioned Grind,” “Bloody Fresh Start” and “Break Even Expresso.”
The co-owners of the restaurant were putting in sweat equity as they rushed to keep up with the flood of customers on opening night. Jade Newman, 31, sprayed down tables and greeted customers while Jessica Robinson, 32, manned the bar.
A restaurant and brewery complex is in the works for the area behind the Carrollton Avenue post office that was once home to the Hollygrove Market. On what is now an empty lot with some abandoned industrial buildings, developers are planning the Catalyst Microbrewery and Restaurant. The redeveloped site at 8301 Olive St. will include two buildings, one for the brewery and another for the restaurant, with off-street parking, outdoor seating and an urban garden. The urban garden is apropos for the site’s history.
The stretch of Magazine Street between Gen. Pershing and Milan streets has seen a lot of comings and goings of businesses through the years, and even more recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One new business that plans to open in the next few months is Second Vine Wine, in the space that most recently housed the Claudia Croazzo clothing store, at 4210-14 Magazine St. If the wine shop’s name is familiar, it’s because Second Vine Wine was previously located in the Marigny Triangle. It closed last year in March, just after the pandemic and lockdowns began. But you can’t keep a wine lover and educator away from Bacchus’ call, and Troy Gant, one of the previous Second Vine Wine owners, is harvesting a new wine shop.
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.
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.
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.