As New Orleans becomes a city with more downtown residents, the expansion of shops and restaurants is an obvious progression.
One project that has garnered a lot of attention is the South Market District, the space that occupies several square blocks bounded by O'Keefe and Loyola avenues between Girod and Poydras streets.
Eating Through South Market
The commercial/residential space is studded with a slew of retail stores and eateries. Jumping on board restaurant-wise:
Part + Parcel, a modern-minded deli from envelope-pushing chef Phillip Lopez of Root/Square Root fame, where the soups, salads and sandwiches are anything but standard (think sous-vide pork shoulder with broccoli rabe, aged provolone and roasted red peppers on sesame bread).
There's also Willa Jean Bakery, a breakfast, lunch and baked-goods spot from Besh Restaurant Group pastry chefs Lisa White and Kelly Fields. A new second location for Company Burger, rocking the same nationally acclaimed menu and a big, 20-plus draft-beer system, has also opened in the area.
Lastly, there's Blaze Pizza, a casual Californian chain offering fast-fired pizza with artisanal ingredients, made to order.
There is also a lot of food and drink happening in the surrounding area.
Balise, the more casual offshoot of La Petite Grocery, is fresh with local product wrought in simple and spectacular dishes, such as long-stem broccoli with sauce gribiche.
There’s Cellar Door for cool cocktails and gastro-lounge plates featuring stuffed chicken wings, and Pulp & Grind with its coffee, juices and boutique hotel under construction that will house several unidentified, as of now, restaurants and a big-deal coffee shop.
Farther-Lying, Delicious Outliers
A little farther away, but still in walking distance, “Top Chef” star Nina Compton, who became a New Orleanian in March, has opened her first restaurant, Compère Lapin, inside the new Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery on Tchoupitoulas Street.
Expect a casual vibe and food drawing from Compton's Caribbean roots, Italian and French cuisines, in addition to flavors she's uncovered on local culinary jaunts.