As a restaurant city, New Orleans is one of the best the world has ever seen. That said, competition for the attention of local diners here can be pretty stiff, and even great restaurants sometimes sadly go the way of the similarly delicious dodo. Here are the ones that (*sniff*) we lost in 2014, and why we’ll miss them so.
CBD Chef Neal Swidler’s Asian spot with excellent cocktails is clearly the most baffling closure of the year. The cuisine was solid, fun, and unique in an area that didn’t have anything comparable for local business types. It’s since become another outpost of Juan’s Flying Burrito (which is also great, but still).
CBD/French Quarter Okay, so this is a strange one. Meauxbar closed, and that fact broke more than a few hearts. Then, Chef Kristen Essig’s lovely eatery Sainte Marie closed as well. HOWEVER! (Cue dramatic soap opera music…) The whole kitchen team from Sainte Marie went en masse to reopen Meauxbar. So, while it’s sad to see a great CBD restaurant go, it’s also heartwarming that Chef Essig’s inventive cuisine can still be enjoyed at the reopened and re-imagined at Meauxbar.
Warehouse District It was loved by locals for a long time, and blazed some tapas trails in its own uniquely wonderful way, so it was with particular melancholy that we saw Adolfo Garcia’s RioMar get the axe in 2014. If you’re still on the lookout for Chef Octavio Ycaza’s cuisine, you’re in luck: he’s heading things up in the Bywater at Booty’s Street Food these days.
Crazy Johnnie’s Steakhouse
Metairie It was a painful blow to Fat City regulars when Crazy Johnnie’s decided to hang up its spurs this past year, especially because news of the closing was something of a shot in the arm for the restaurant’s business. Sadly, that shot didn’t last long, and Crazy Johnnie’s is officially no more. May it rest in peace.
French Quarter This was the shocker of the year. Local diners were literally stunned to find out that Scott Boswell’s fantastic French fine-dining eatery shut its doors very quickly and unexpectedly this year. If there’s any upside to this story, it’s that Boswell has renewed his focus on his other restaurant, Stanley, and plans to continue to do so.
Fat Hen Grocery
Uptown The Fat Hen didn’t have much of a lifespan in its historic St. Charles Ave spot, but it was a cool place to grab a burger during its unfortunately brief tenure there. On the bright side, the location has become the newest outpost for Willie Mae Seaton’s fried chicken and soul food empire, which has Uptown residents exceptionally happy.
Mid-City The demise of this great pizzeria from Jeff Baron and Bart Bell was a shot to the heart of Mid-City pizza lovers. Their pies were consistently some of the best in the neighborhood, and a boon to those working on the enormous hospital expansion nearby. Fortunately, the space isn’t lost for good; Baron and Bell are reinventing the place as “Crescent Plate”.
Velvet Central Kitchen
Central City Sadly, it looks like Central City couldn’t quite support an upscale espresso bar these days. The coffee business in NOLA has always been a competitive one, however, and we hope Velvet gets new life soon in another spot.
Uptown With the stunning news that Head Chef Dominique Maquet was leaving his eponymous, much-beloved restaurant, it was only a matter of time before the place would officially close or be reborn as something different. We don’t know exactly what’s going to become of it, but we will shed several tears and pour out some fine vino for our lost Uptown brother this year. He was fantastic.
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