Four Fantastic Reasons Not to Wait in Line for Brunch
There will probably a line, but it'll be worth it
With nine locations nationwide (and counting), this chain is kind of the behemoth of brunch spots -- but that doesn’t make its Southern-meets-Cajun breakfast fare any less satisfying. If you haven't been, try one of the signatures like their BBQ shrimp & grits or the Chicken St. Charles, which is served with two poached eggs and pork tasso cream sauce. Plus, since it was born in New Orleans, you know that each Ruby Slipper location has to have a full bar. Open from 7am to 2pm weekdays; 7am to 3pm weekends.
LGBT-friendly space with a great poolside bar
The drag brunch at The Country Club (weekends 10am to 3pm) isn’t just a meal. Complete with a Bloody Mary bar, bottomless mimosas, and performances by the ladies of Tthe Southern Barbitchuates, it’s a boozy, brash, and often bachelorette party–filled experience. You might need to recuperate in the saltwater pool out back afterward. (Pro tip: Even during non-brunch hours, The Country Club is still one of our best bars.)
Heaping sandwiches with local ingredients served at the counter
The line at this counter-serve spot spools out the door and onto the street during weekend mornings, but tattooed employees dish up plates from the chalkboard menu with admirable speed. Yes, Satsuma deploys almost every cafe stereotype, but its careful food preparation and locally sourced ingredients are the reason avocado toast and fresh-pressed beet juice became hipster clichés in the first place. Open daily from 7am to 5pm.
The ideal Jackson Square spot for a great jazz brunch
New Orleans didn’t invent brunch, but it did invent jazz, so that means it invented the jazz brunch, right? And Muriel’s perfected it, thanks to a balcony overlooking Jackson Square and menu items ranging from shrimp and goat cheese crepes to grits and grillades. Sip a Ramos gin fizz and take in the jazz brunch from 10:30am to 2pm Sundays; regular Saturday brunch is also 10:30am to 2pm.
Super-affordable, health-conscious food with changing specials all the time
Gluten-free, vegan, or emphatically carnivore brunchers collide at this Ninth Ward spot for farm-to-table fare that’s refreshingly cheap (most meals cost less than $10) and quirky (all the tables, lamps and paintings are thrift-store chic finds). Vegan biscuits and gravy and breakfast flatbread with eggs or tofu star on the rotating menu and are available from 11am to 9pm daily. There’s beer and wine on the menu, but you’ll have to get your cocktail fix elsewhere.
Pricier, delicious fare served in a little Creole cottage
Louisiana-accented haute cuisine forms an elegant counterpoint to the rustic cottage setting at this Uptown establishment, which is tucked away on a leafy, residential street. Crawfish, house-made tasso, bell peppers, and Parmesan cheese mingle in the etouffee omelet, and everything from the boudin to the breakfast sausage is made in-house. Brunch happens from 10am to 2:30 pm Thursday through Monday.
Boffo biscuits and a BYOB brunch
Maybe the best part of this alliterative neighborhood hangout is the tiny biscuits with maple butter that arrive gratis, prior to your meal. Chicken and waffles are the next-best thing. Sit inside among riotous, NOLA-themed murals or outside on the oak-shaded sidewalk. No booze, but they don’t mind if you bring in a cocktail from the neighboring bar. Open 8am to 3pm Wednesday through Monday.
A glorious mecca of gorgeous baked goods
It’s a bakery. It’s a restaurant. It’s a coffee shop. It’s a bar. It's a decent date spot. It’s all of these things -- which makes Willa Jean’s weekend brunch game (7am to 4pm) extremely strong. Set in an airy, light-filled space and helmed by chef Kelly Fields, Willa Jean is a place where you can while away a morning: start off with a snack of cornbread, ease into a smoked salmon tartine, and wind up with a cocktail.
High-end entrees paired with a world-class burlesque show
Come for the three-course brunch with offerings including Bloody Marys, buttermilk biscuit donuts, and cochon de lait topped waffles. Stay for the performance by burlesque dancer Bella Blue, a local legend with a captivating presence and formal ballet training. Brunch goes down from 10:30am to 3pm Sundays, and the show takes place from 11:30am to 1:30pm.
Uptown, Lower Garden District
An award-winning BYOB spot known for its juices
Surrey’s brought the fresh organic juice game to New Orleans when it opened. Hearty fare like pain perdu, bananas Foster pancakes, and tofu breakfast platters are perfect pairs to the virtuous beverage. There’s no booze, but you can bring a bottle of Champagne (or other libation), order a carafe of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and have yourself a grand old time. It's open 8am to 3pm daily.
125-year-old mainstay that, yes, has a jazz brunch
Brunch at an 1893 landmark with haute cuisine and the white-glove service to match? You can’t not when you’re in New Orleans. Despite its venerable history, dress code and elevated menu (e.g., truffled mushroom and dirty rice gnocchi, turtle soup), the atmosphere at Commander’s Palace is anything but stuffy -- the happier New Orleanians are, the louder they are. Catch jazz brunch from 11am to 1pm Saturday and 10am to 1:30pm Sundays.
A neighborhood spot with a crazy hot sauce heritage
Brunch takes over at this family-owned corner restaurant from 9am to 3pm Sundays, when there’s everything from oysters Benedict to crawfish beignets on the menu. Order a brandy milk punch and douse your meal with hot sauce before digging in. The owners are direct descendants of Edmund McIlhenny, creator of Tabasco (yes, that Tabasco), and you’ll find every flavor of the vinegar-based hot sauce on your table.
Reliable mainstay making everything from scratch
Look for the peeling two-story house perched by the levee and hung with hand-painted signs for Regal Beer and praline bacon. If there’s a hungry crowd outside, you’re probably in time for brunch (8am to 2:30pm weekends). From fried chicken livers with pepper jelly to bananas Foster French toast, Elizabeth’s made-from-scratch menu hits the country-meets-Creole sweet spot.
Come for brunch, come again and again for $1 cupcakes
Why limit dessert to dinner? At Cake Café, a bakery-cum-breakfast-and-brunch-destination, $1 gets you a cupcake when you buy a meal. And if a red velvet cupcake following a crab omelet or boudin and eggs sounds unbearably decadent -- just remember, that’s the whole point. Plus, there’s no bar here, so how else are you going to overindulge? Open from 7am to 3pm Wednesday through Monday.
Updated Cajun and Creole classics worthy of their legacy
DTB (Down the Bayou) has the feel of an old-school seafood joint, the craft cocktails of a trendy gastropub, and the brunch of the gods. From 10:30am to 2pm Friday through Sunday, you'll find all the classic brunch cocktails (and bottomless mimosas) there, as well as meals like crawfish Benedict pie and shrimp grits carbonara.
One of the fanciest brunches in town, with ice cream served downstairs
It started as a mint-green jewel box of an artisanal candy store in 2007, and now Sucré has broadened its sugary palate to include haute cuisine and daily brunch. With a balcony overlooking Conti Street, bottomless mimosas, and sweet and savory menu items (Belgian waffle sundaes and mushroom fondue frittatas, respectively), Salon and its brunch are the dream of chef Tariq Hanna. When you're done, you can still snag ice cream and chocolate bars in the shop downstairs.