A plan to demolish a home on General Pershing Street to make way for a parking lot for an as-yet-undisclosed business planned for Magazine Street will appear before another city panel Tuesday, after a different aspect of the request was rejected last month. Part of the Top Drawer building on Magazine near Napoleon is slated for redevelopment, but the developer wants to use the property at 820 General Pershing Street for a few additional parking spaces, architect Anna Bertucci Ghelase told the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee (which governs demolition requests) in early December. She said that the home is unoccupied and damaged from a fire years ago, and that more parking will make attracting a tenant to the Magazine Street project easier. The NCDC rejected the demolition, although the developer is appealing that decision to the full City Council. Meanwhile, putting a parking lot on the residential square would also require a conditional-use permit from the city, and the City Planning Commission is scheduled to hear that item at its 1:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.
In a flurry of recent restaurant news around Uptown, the Rouses store on Tchoupitoulas has opened a sit-down restaurant, a new barbecue restaurant is going in next to Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine, Velvet Espresso is opening a location on O.C. Haley Boulevard, and Dunbar’s is moving again. The Cellar restaurant behind the wine section in the Rouses on Tchoupitoulas offers selections that “range from shrimp and grits with Abita-braised greens, to beet frites, bacon- and pine nut-crusted pork loin, ginger pickled peach salad with Tabasco sugar cane vinaigrette, and cannoli for dessert,” with prices from $7 to $12 and a kids menu, reports Susan Langenhennig of The Times-Picayune. McClure’s Barbecue, the well-known pop-up restaurant, has begun demolition on the interior of a building at Magazine and Bordeaux, and may be open by New Year’s, reports Gwendolyn Knapp of Eater.com. Velvet Central, an expansion of Velvet Espresso Bar across from Whole Foods on Magazine, will open by Christmas at 1409 O.C. Haley Boulevard, the New Orleans Redevelopment Agency building, using the additional space to prepare more specialty coffees, according to an interview by Knapp following up on an earlier article by Langenhennig. Finally, former Freret Street institution Dunbar’s Creole Cooking has not reopened in its post-Katrina space at Loyola University this semester, but its owners will open Dunbar’s Soul Food in Gentilly this spring, reports Ian McNulty of Gambit.
NOLA Brewing on Tchoupitoulas is adding a bar space for tastings and has just released a new beer; more details are emerging on the future of the former Rocky’s Pizzeria space on Magazine; Sara’s Bistro on Dublin Street has a new chef and a new approach; and the French restaurant C’est La Vie has closed on Magazine Street. Damage from Hurricane Isaac prompted the renovations at NOLA Brewing, and the new high alcohol Mechahopzilla was just released last week, reports Gwendolyn Knapp of Eater NOLA. The changes in the 3200 block of Magazine are ongoing, reports Susan Langenhennig of The Times-Picayune: Salu will get an upstairs dining room, Byblos is moving into the old Nacho Mama’s space in mid-October, a tacqueria will be in the old Byblos space, and the former Rocky’s is slated to become a barbecue restaurant. The menu at Sara’s Bistro in the Riverbend is becoming even more eclectic under the direction of new manager and consulting chef Bart Thomas and his interest in “modern New World cuisine,” reports Ian McNulty of The Gambit. After opening in January, C’est La Vie at 4206 Magazine apparently closed earlier this month, reports Knapp at Eater NOLA, and the building owner is already taking calls from possible new tenants.
Roux Public House and Diva Dawg join Juan’s Flying Burrito among the restaurant offerings in the 1900 block of Magazine Street, while Kakkoii Japanese Bistreaux has opened its doors on Maple Street. Roux Public House serves Cajun and Creole dishes such as BBQ shrimp or pan-fried chicken, and Diva Dawg is a new entry into the gourmet hot dog market, reports Mary-Devon Dupuy of NOLA Defender. Kakkoii offers a familiar array of Japanese sushi and entrees, “but it also makes room for offbeat numbers like fish tacos with tempura-battered whitefish and pickled cucumbers and ‘monki ribs,’ which are baby back ribs with a sweet Japanese-style barbecue glaze,” writes Ian McNulty of Gambit.
As it celebrates its first year in business, Uptown PR is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Magazine Street storefront this afternoon. The ribbon will be cut in a ceremony with the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce at 4:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Aug. 9) at 4306 Magazine Street, followed by a celebration with hors d’oeuvres and a signature “Uptown Fizz” cocktail.
A fresh-food market plans to bring the produce of 200 farmers to O.C. Haley Boulevard, and the local Mediterrean chain Byblos plans to move into the space on Magazine Street recently vacated by the closure of Nacho Mama’s. Jack and Jake’s will open in the old Myrtle Banks School building in about a year and a half, reports Maria Clark of New Orleans City Business. Meanwhile, when Byblos moves into the old Nacho Mama’s, the old Byblos will become an upscale taqueria, and the owners of Byblos have also bought the Rocky’s Pizza building, reports Alexander Hancock of Eater NOLA.
The block of Magazine Street between Napoleon and General Pershing will be closed to traffic and water pressure will be low from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday while Sewerage and Water Board crews repair a leaking water main, the agency announced. Bus service will be rerouted around the construction site, the announcement states.
A new Ethiopian restaurant has opened on Magazine Street, and a popular Bywater cafe aims to open its Maple Street location next month. Nile Ethiopian Restaurant in the Lower Garden District joins Cafe Abyssinia as the second Ethiopian restaurant on Magazine Street, and “the sound of kids giggling in the kitchen provides an unmistakable signal that this is a family-run restaurant,” writes Gambit’s Ian McNulty. Satsuma Cafe, the popular Bywater breakfast and lunch place, plans to open at the corner of Maple and Fern on Aug. 15, and Alexander Hancock of Eater NOLA speculates that dinner service may be planned as well.
The Magazine Street building that was Ignatius restaurant before owner Jerry Roppolo moved down to the former Rue de la Course has become the new home of Saucy’s BBQ, which is moving in from Metairie to “focus on their St. Louis-style dry rub ribs, brisket, pulled pork and sausages,” writes Ian McNulty of Gambit.
The Uptown New Orleans burger scene has already improved greatly over the past year, but three more burger concepts are on the way: steamed organic burgers at Juicy D’s on Oak Street, the rapidly growing chain Smashburger in the 3300 block of Magazine, and the (literally) high-profile burger emporium Charcoal at Jackson and Magazine. The features of each are described in detail today by Brad Rhines and Mary-Devon Dupuy of NOLA Defender.