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It’s the French Quarter bar kitchen’s first restaurant

Faubourg Bistro’s first stand-alone restaurant opened Uptown yesterday (June 13), almost four years after owner Matt Hayes started serving wide-ranging bar food out of the back of the French Quarter’s 700 Club.

The kitchen known for its creative late-night food and free neighborhood bike delivery took over 7537 Maple Street, a corner building that’s been empty since Three Muses Uptown closed two years ago in a series of depressing pre-summer shutters. Hayes made light renovations to the space, adding a lunch counter along the front windows and making updates behind the bar.

The Uptown restaurant has the same menu as the original, with casual, crowd-pleasing items like mac and cheese bites, a wedge salad, sandwiches like burgers, fried chicken, and finger foods like wings, including the “PBB&J” wings with Thai-style peanut sauce, crumbled bacon, and spiced grape jelly sauce. Hayes is adding desserts to the Maple Street offerings, a “homemade take on ice cream truck treats and Little Debbie cakes.”

Faubourg Bistro is open seven days a week, Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., until midnight Thursday through Saturday, and until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Faubourg Bistro kitchen in the 700 Club will remain open.

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The dim sum destination is taking over the former Estano location

Bao & Noodle, a neighborhood destination for some of New Orleans’s best Schezwan and Cantonese cuisine, is moving to St. Claude Avenue next month, taking over the space of recently-closed Spanish wine bar Estano.

The move was confirmed to Eater by owner Doug Crowell, who opened the casual Chinese restaurant with his wife Asia Wong almost five years ago. The Herbsaint alum made a splash upon debuting by bringing a handful of dim sum dishes to the neighborhood along with hand-pulled noodles, “numbing” spicy Schezwan flavors, and some of the city’s only Cantonese offerings. It’s also probably the only place in town to try rousong, or fluffy pork floss/wool.

Bao & Noodle will pick up and move to the new, more visible location (2266 St. Claude Avenue) as soon as proper permitting comes through from the city, Crowell says, and doesn’t expect a lag of more than a week between closing the Chartres Street address and opening back up on St. Claude.

Excitingly, the new location will be able to offer beer and wine, though Crowell expects to give customers who are accustomed to bringing in their own drinks the option for the first few months. Opening hours will remain the same as they are now, Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., but may expand in the future.

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Renovations have resumed following a private settlement

Last spring, burrito mega-chain Chipotle backed out of its heavily-contested plans to open a restaurant in the Garden District, subsequently landing in court when the building’s owners sued for damages. Now, having settled the suit out of court earlier this year, Chipotle has resumed work on the Magazine Street address with an projected opening of this summer, reports the Advocate.

Chipotle gained approval at the beginning of 2018 from city planners after months of wrangling with neighbors fearful of a national chain’s impact on the Uptown neighborhood and the “cultural potency” of Magazine Street. A lawsuit filed a few months later by Chipotle’s would-be landlord, 2801 Magazine, LLC, indicated the fast-food restaurant had bailed, arguing that a “good-neighbor” agreement that had been reached to pave way for approval had lowered the building’s value.

Now that renovations at 2801 Magazine have resumed, the Garden District Chipotle will be the first in New Orleans proper, joining area locations in Metairie and Harahan.

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The Banks Drinkery & Kitchen is now open

Less than a year after opening the vaguely-Mexican Agave House in New Orleans’s Mid City, the restaurant’s owners have pivoted; reinventing the Banks Street location as a Cajun-Creole and craft cocktail spot called The Banks Drinkery & Kitchen.

Brothers Oscar and Allan Chimal opened Agave House last August after buying the building that held gourmet grilled cheese spot Melt until June (2549 Banks Street). The idea was to bring Mexican flavors to more traditional local dishes, resulting in items like chicken enchilada pasta and crawfish nachos, while also emphasizing their (very bright) margarita offerings.

Danny Holsomback joins the the Chimal brothers in executing the restaurant’s rebirth. Holsomback plans to draw from his experience implementing a craft cocktail program at Frenchmen Street music venue 30/90 to do the same at The Banks, building a menu around a growing list of locally-distilled spirits, as well as to bring in live music acts and daily food and drink specials. The restaurant’s focus will be on its Mid City neighborhood, Holsomback says, with aims to ensure excellent lunch service to the nearby hospital complexes and become a haven for nearby service industry workers.

Holsomback plans to gradually adjust the menu and roll out new items in the lead-up to The Bank’s grand opening on June 21, along the way seeking input and ideas from its locally-reared staff. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Check back for a final opening menu.

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A sign at Ro-Bears says it’s closed for the 2019 season

New Orleans will face summer without one of the area’s most beloved sno-ball destinations, Harahan’s Ro-Bears Snowballs and Soft Serve. According to a sign posted outside the stand on Jefferson Highway, Ro-Bears will be closed for the 2019 season.

Known best for its extra-rich syrup and condensed milk drizzle (oh, and the chocolate flavor), Ro-Bears is one of the dozen or sno-ball stands New Orleanians look forward to all “winter” long, a 54-year-old institution that also serves ice cream and excellent hot tamales, as is often the tradition at sno-ball stands. It was started by Shirley Roberts in 1965 (while a mother of six) and remains a family-run business, with daughter Janice now running the day-to-day show.

New Orleans’s sno-ball tradition dates back to the 1930s when George Ortolano and Ernest Hansen built the city’s first electric ice-shaving machines after years of vendors shaving ice for the summer treats by hand. The machine’s fine, fluffy product is what came to distinguish the sno-ball from its denser, crunchier snow cone counterpart. Hansen went on to open Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (still under family ownership when it was named a James Beard America’s Classic in 2014), and Ortolano’s follow-up version of the machine is still used in shops today.

Eater has reached out to Ro-Bears for more information and will update if we hear back. There is no indication the closure will extend beyond this season, but we have updated our list of must-try sno-ball stands to reflect this summer’s absence.

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Must-Try Sno-Ball Stands in New Orleans [ENOLA]

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Nola Caye is from the owners of Restaurant des Familles

The owners of the Westbank’s charming Restaurant des Familles are bringing a fast-casual Caribbean restaurant to New Orleans’s Warehouse District, and they’re seeking investments large and small to help get them to the finish line.

After an initial attempt to find a location in Marrero for their NOLA Caye idea, Bryan and Brooke Zar signed a lease earlier this year in an upcoming mixed-use condo building on Baronne Street where it meets St. Joseph & Howard Avenue (846 Baronne). They launched an Indiegogo campaign last month with the goal of raising $650,000 by mid-July, with options ranging from a discounted advance gift card to a 10% equity investment of $150,000.

The campaign lays out in thorough detail the couple’s background and achievements at both Houston’s and with Restaurant des Familles, and their inspiration, plans, and expectations for NOLA Caye. Renderings show a sleek exterior entrance and a spacious, bright interior stocked with on-trend chairs, plant life, and white marble.

Nola Caye/Facebook Interior rendering

The menu for a preview night of the upcoming project held at Restaurant des Familles in March shows items like coconut shrimp, tuna tacos, and a crab cake salad. The projected opening date for Nola Caye is October 2019.

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The Domino just opened on St. Claude Avenue

The Domino, a new “wine dive” bar on St. Claude Avenue from the cocktail mastermind behind Twelve Mile Limit in Mid City, opened for business this week.

T. Cole Newton began working on the follow-up to his nine-year old destination watering hole early last year, and the shift from cocktails to wine is only half of the equation at the Bywater’s newest addition. Lining the left wall of the bar, three dark-leather retro booths curb custom-made game board table tops displaying the familiar black and white squares of checkers and sharp-lined corners of Backgammon. The middle table will stand out to the keen eye of an avid game-board player; there’s a Settlers of Catan booth in this joint.

“Game night was one of our go-to family activities,” Newton said, explaining his inspiration for creating a welcoming space without the “cult of exclusivity” often surrounding wine bars.

The same cozy ethos that turned Twelve Mile Limit’s overachieving craft cocktail program into an affable neighborhood spot is what Newton intends for The Domino. Having previously worked at Commander’s Palace, Loa and Coquette, Newton is familiar with upscale, curated wine programs. But with The Domino, he aims to make wine more approachable, and he’s tapped an all-star cast of industry rockstars (including Holly Talmadge, J’Nai Williams, Toure Folkes, Xander Bilyk, and Scott Hicks) to help him achieve his goal.

Hailing from New York’s fine dining scene, The Domino’s bar manager Luis Zepeda worked with Newton to develop the carefully built wine menu consisting of 17 wines under the sparkling, rose, white, red, and fortified categories. All of the wines offered are on draft, canned, boxed or from corkless bottles, which they plan on repurposing.

“Good wine doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t always have to come in a bottle.” explained Zepeda. ”I went on a mission to find the best wines in the most sustainable packaging, and I wouldn’t serve anything that I wouldn’t drink myself.”

Taking into account restaurant neighbors like Red’s Chinese, N7 and Saint-Germain, Newton is encouraging patrons to bring outside food if they wish, for now. In the future there are plans to host pop-ups, but currently serve what Newton describes as “elevated stoner snacks” which include house-made pizza bagels, toaster pastries, and pressed sandwiches.

The Domino, located at 3044 St. Claude Avenue, is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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Peaches Records also considering a restaurant down the road

Peaches Records, a treasured, decades-long destination for New Orleans music lovers, hopes to use its historic F.W. Woolworth lunch counter to host pop-ups and events, and to potentially establish a daily restaurant in the future.

Uptown Messenger reports that the Magazine Street record store’s owners outlined their plans for the counter at a neighborhood meeting Monday, June 3. The meeting was part of the process in their quest for conditional use approval to operate as a restaurant and serve alcoholic beverages. Lee Rea, son of Peaches’ owner Shirani Rea, clarified that they would use the counter to host local chefs for pop-ups and fundraising events, but that any plans for a daily restaurant are three to five years down the road.

Peaches moved from the French Quarter to 4318 Magazine Street, a former F.W. Woolworth store and the original location of the counter, in 2016. A consultant working with the owners to ensure appropriate permitting said that the counter, built in 1940, was the site of the first sit-in inspired by the original 1960 Greensboro Woolworth counter sit-ins, making it the second in the counters’ history as an icon of the civil rights movements.

The last functional Woolworth’s counter in America is in Bakersfield, California; in Nashville, a former Woolworth department store was turned into a restaurant that opened last year. The Reas’ plans to use the counter to honor its history and “create a space to strengthen community bonds” would add New Orleans to this small list of significant sites nationwide.

Uptown Messenger reports that attendees, despite questions, seemed supportive of the idea. Check back with Eater for updates on plans for the counter.

Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Noticed a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Send an email.

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The Simple Greek is setting up shop in the CBD

The Simple Greek, a build-your-own bowl, salad, and gyro brand featured on CNBC’s reality TV show The Profit, is opening a location at 419 Carondelet Street in the CBD, its first in the New Orleans area.

It is one of the latest locations planned for the budding Greek restaurant chain, which most recently opened its first Louisiana shop near LSU in Baton Rouge. Established as a franchise in 2016, The Simple Greek has spent the last year expanding nationally, with 30 locations as of 2018 and spots upcoming in Los Angeles and Ankeny, Iowa, as well as second locations in the Houston and Atlanta areas.

The CBD cafe is moving into an 1,800 square foot space on the ground floor of newly renovated luxury apartments, 419 Carondelet, where there will be three retail spaces. A representative for the apartment building said that another space will be occupied by a yoga studio while a third is not yet rented.

Entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis turns around struggling restaurants on his show The Profit, and the Simple Greek’s model came out of a flailing Greek spot in Pittsburgh. Lemonis describes the chain as healthy and wholesome Greek cuisine, primarily inspired by the family recipes of Lemonis himself.

Eater has reached out to The Simple Greek for more details on franchisee information and projected opening date and will update if we hear back.

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Nola Mia Gelato Cafe opened last month

A new family-owned cafe on St. Claude Avenue brings the much-admired New York bagel to the Marigny, a local rarity that one of the owners personally transports from New York City, in addition to homemade gelato, Italian ice, paninis and more.

Raffaele Iorio, his wife Roseann, and his daughter Rosaria opened Nola Mia Gelato Cafe last month, taking over what used to be a vintage music store and venue next to the Allways Lounge and steps from other late-night music destinations Hi-Ho Lounge and Siberia. The family serves a handful of brightly-colored Italian ices, 18 flavors of gelato, and pressed paninis with fillings like mozzarella and tomato, chicken cutlets, and prosciutto, as well as the bagels - while supplies last.

Nola Mia Gelato is among other developments to its area of St. Claude Avenue, which just saw a Starbucks open next to Robert’s grocery store, the iconic Gene’s Po-Boys go up for sale for $5 million, and the closure of longtime beauty supply store Beauty Plus after owners said they found out rent would triple.

Nola Mia Gelato Cafe is open daily from around 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Noticed a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Send an email.

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