We all complain about how the French Quarter is nothing but drunken tourists and t-shirt shops, but a few, brand new, local businesses are working to change that. Despite our current reservations about the neighborhood, we trudge against the heat and the smell and the beers at every stop because the French Quarter is a symbol of New Orleans and still cannot be replicated anywhere else. A common phrase uttered to visitors when they ask, “Where should I eat in the French Quarter?” has been “Don’t”. Hopefully, however, that soon will not be the case. As more and more of our cherished places such as Verti Marte or Bar Tonique are filled with strangers instead of friendly faces try out the following destinations to eat or shop while downtown.
Longway Tavern – This new restaurant/bar from the Leblanc + Smith Group is situated in an unlikely spot for locals to even get to. It’s almost camouflaged into the architecture on Toulouse between Bourbon and Royal. The photography on the wall tries to create a rock ’n roll attitude, but essentially it’s a very nice, clean cut location for good cocktails and food. Try the chicken thigh dish and Greena Colada.
French Truck Coffee – An early buzz is just what you need to battle the characters lounging around the French Quarter. This New Orleans startup opened a new location on Chartres and Iberville over a year ago. Their signature roasts and coffee-making styles are all there plus a menu to tie you over until your brunch at Mr. B’s.
Manolito – Who doesn’t love a Cuban sandwich? Where can you get a well-made, original daiquiri? Manolito opened up this past spring to a quiet reception except for those in the restaurant industry. Once again, young hospitality veterans are getting their foot in the door with small footprint locations. Don’t miss this place right across the street from the Pet Asylum on Dumaine and Decatur. It’s a tight squeeze even once you’re in there, but the staff is great and the atmosphere is the liveliest (and friendliest) you’ll get in the lower Quarter.
odAOMO – Shopping around the French Quarter could leave you with more knick-knacks and fleur-de-lis covered towels than you ever thought you’d own. Clothes shopping is even harder unless you’re into completely esoteric materials or mass-produced t-shirts. Welcome to odAOMO, the other side of the spectrum. Curated for “luxury global citizens,” this place is actually quite affordable and has something of interest for almost anyone. Pop in for skirts and dresses that will keep you cool, or slender, elegant jewelry pieces.
miti miti – This food pop-up at Black Penny is the brainchild of two New Orleans restaurants die-hards, the Ycaza brothers. Classified as “Ecuadorian beach food,” you can get ceviche, roasted pork shoulder, or empanadas at 2 a.m. Pair these hot (and cold) dishes with a beer from Black Penny’s wide selection and it’s like you’re in a whole other world.