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May 20, 2002 04:59 PM

Weekends in NO and area

  • l

Just got back from a long weekend in New Orleans. The food was as fantastic as I had been led to believe. But one word of warning -- many places are closed on Sunday. This came as a huge surprise (I'm from NYC where nothing ever closes) and, obviously, a disappointment. Trying to get lunch on Sunday was an ordeal. Uglesich, Brigtsen's, Casamento's (sp?)? All closed. Huge line out the door at Mother's (no wonder, because everywhere else was CLOSED) and Commander's Palace completely booked. The situation became quite dire since we were heading out that afternoon, and lunch was going to be our LAST meal in New Orleans. Thankfully, we stumbled on Tee-Eva's just down the street from Casamento's. She took pity on us, set up a card table and folding chairs in her driveway and proceeded to feed us tremendously well.

Also, on Saturday, we drove out on the river road, heading ultimately toward Lafayette and Best Stop's boudin. We planned to stop at some little bakeries, other meat markets, etc. along the way. ALL CLOSED! Best Stop, thank god, was open and well worth the drive...

Anyway, New Orleans is great, food is amazing, but I do just want to warn people to do some planning if they're going to be there on a Sunday.

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  1. Absolutely true, and even more so when you get out of the city into the countryside. One Sunday we were returning from an art fair in Donaldsonville and drove back to New Orleans along the west side of the river, planning to stop at some interesting local place. I am embarrassed to admit that in desparation we finally had to resort to eating (I use the term loosely) at a Western Sizzlin'. And within the city, many of the best restaurants are closed for dinner on Sunday.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sarah C
      Hungry Celeste

      Hey, services workers need a day off too! Plus, NO has a higher-than-American-average attendance at church services. And people still go to Sunday dinner (NOT lunch) at their mamma's and grandma's houses. Just find some local who'll take pity on you--wheedle an invitation to a real Sunday dinner, which will easily outpace any restaurant meal in the city.

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Yes, that would definitely be a coup! Maybe we could start a group of locals who would be willing to invite visitors to Sunday dinner? I do live here, and this is why we cook on Sundays instead of going out to dinner. Although we do it in the evening, instead of at noon. I grew up in Arkansas having Sunday dinner after church, so I understand what you're saying.

    2. Boy, you got that right. We were unprepared on our last trip and wound up in an awful, roach-infested dump on Chartres on a Sunday night. I don't remember the name, but I'm 100% certain it's out of business by now anyway.

      We're visiting again in two weeks, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. So I just got off the phone with the concierge from our hotel, and he reserved a table at Stella! for us for Sunday. He promised me that it's an excellent restaurant, it just has a dopey name.

      1. You also caught it on a bad weekend as several of the universities had graduation this past weekend jamming any resturant that was open.
        Wish I could explain it. It hasn't been too long where retail stores couldn't open on Sunday. Just plan ahead and don't count on the best meal on Sunday.
        Glad you had an enjoyable time anyway!

        1. I've heard this complaint more than once, but I still don't understand it. Sure, some of the restaurants that cater more to local clientele are dark on Sunday, but there are many, many more that are open. Don't believe that? Limiting myself to just those in and near the Vieux Carre, here are a few just off the top of my head that are open on Sunday (without any value judgments about the ones you should seriously consider): Galatoire's, Cafe Giovanni, Brennan's, Arnaud's, Bacco, Broussard's, Bistro at Maison de Ville, Bella Luna, Irene's, Mr. B's, Marisol, NOLA, Pelican Club, Palace Cafe, Stella, Dickie Brennan's, Morton's, Smith & Wollensky, Red Fish Grill, Louis XVI, 827 ½ Toulouse, Begue's, Grill Room, Victor's, Rib Room, Hunt Room, Midi South of France, Rene Bistrot, Cobalt, Lemon Grass, Cafe Sbisa, Dominique's, Belle Forche, Andrew Jaeger's, Alex Patout's, Mike Anderson's, 201, Maximo's, Gumbo Shop, Court of Two Sisters, Maspero, Mona Lisa, Royal Cafe, Cafe Rue Bourbon, Tujaque's, Coop's, Johnny's Po-Boy, Clover Grill, Petunia's, Quarter Scene, Coffee Pot, Fiorella's, Country Flame, Felix's, House of Blues, Mother's, Port of Call, Praline Connection, Old Dog New Trick, La Peniche, Feelings Cafe, Snug Harbor, Wasabi, Rock-n-Sake, Horinoya, Tacqueria Corona, Ditka's, Red Bike, and literally dozens of others just in that general area. So, what's the big problem?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Creole

            My point was not to insult New Orleans but to warn people that the places that I wanted to go to were closed on Sunday. Judging by the posts on this board, they seem to be places that many people are interested in so I thought such information would be helpful. As I said, I was surprised because where I come from, similar places would be more likely to be open on a Sunday. In New Orleans, the situation is different, and it seems that people from out of town might appreciate knowing that in advance.

            As for your list of restaurants that are open on Sunday, you said that you were making no value judgement about them. It surprises me that a fellow chowhound would think that a list of ALL restaurants that are open is valuable to people like us. What would truly be helpful is a list of GOOD restaurants that are open. I can only conclude that your point in posting such a long, undifferentiated list was designed to make me feel bad about my own post (which, by the way, I don't) rather than to do anyone a service on this board. Again, I'm surprised. Most of the people I encountered in New Orleans and the surrounding area were friendly and eager to make sure visitors had an excellent time.

            1. re: LC

              Okay, I'll give value judgments, although you should understand that the list he gave consists of many of the different restaurants that are recommended to out-of-towners. We're spoiled down here in New Orleans in that there are SOOO many good restaurants to try! Now, onto some value judgments from his list.

              Ones I've personally been to and would recommend: Galatoire's, Brennan's, Bacco, Bistro at Maison de Ville, Mr. B's, NOLA, Palace Cafe (good for lunch), Stella, Grill Room, Dominique's, Mona Lisa, Clover Grill, Mother's, Port of Call, Old Dog New Trick, Snug Harbor, Taqueria Corona.

              Ones that I've heard are wonderful but have not yet visited: Bella Luna (view, romance), Marisol, Pelican Club, Dickie Brennan's, Smith & Wollensky, Red Fish Grill, Louis XVI, 827 1/2 Toulouse, Victor's, Rene Bistrot, Cobalt, Lemon Grass, Cafe Sbisa, 201, Gumbo Shop, Maspero, Johnny's Poboy, Petunia's, Ditka's.

              The balance of the list I have mostly never heard reviews one way or another. Creole gives a great starting out list with a wide variety of cuisine, prices, etc. to sample, depending on what you're in the mood for. Use us local chowhounds and reviews (I generally tend to agree with Tom Fitzmorris, the site linked below) for any advice you might need on an upcoming trip!

              Blue skies,


              1. re: LC

                And, my point was not to insult you, only to demonstrate that a wide and varied range of restaurants are open on Sunday and one should have no problem finding the type of food and price one desires on that day. You took my response in the worst of all possible ways. Sorry you were insulted, but you really need to lighten up. The list I gave was intended to be a varied and wide range (in both style and price) of SOME of the restaurants open on Sunday in a LIMITED area of town. It was by no means exhaustive and, in fact, was only a sample - there are many, many more restaurants in that area of town to choose from on Sunday. I gave no value judgments because I do not know what kind of cuisine or price ranges interest you. All the restaurants listed I consider to acceptable in one way or another for people looking for that kind/price of cuisine. Sorry that I did not produce a Zagat's for you to peruse at your leisure.