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Fest Dining...I know, I know...don't shoot me

I know this is last minute, but we usually come to JazzFest with my sister who has so many food restrictions that it makes foodie dining absolutely impossible, so we just eat dinner before leaving the fest. Well, she's bailed at the last minute, so I'm dying for some recs of places where 2-3 of us might actually be able to get in for dinner without an eternal wait. I fear that without having reservations a month ago, though, I might be sol...please tell me I'm not.

We're staying in the cbd, but I'm willing to cab it to avoid the Quarter mayhem for dining. It's been a while since I've done a ton of dining out in your fine city, so I don't know the lay of the land now. To help, I'm definitely looking for that excellent N'awlins cuisine we just can't get in Austin. I always had a soft spot for the softshell crab/fried green tomatoes at Jacque-Imo's, but that doesn't seem to be on the menu any more. I wasn't bowled over last time I was at Nola. I remember liking Clancy's. Of course, Central Grocery for a muffaletta. I mention these to give you an idea of what I'm thinking. Please, please, N'awlins hounds, bring on the recs...

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  1. IMO I would go to Liuzza's by the Track. Within walking distance of the Fest and right up your alley if you want local flair. I'm sure they get pretty busy during the fest but its well worth it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: stvtunlvzn

      I'm almost positive that LBTT does not serve food on JF days. They are strictly a liquid diet kind of place on those days. All of the tables are cleared out and it's only several lines leading up to the bar. They open at 10 where you can start with bloody marys (which are fantastic). After the fest, everyone swarms there to drink some more and hear live music. It's like a huge block party. There's a live band outside and they are making serious money on liquor.

      1. re: nikinik

        I think you're correct. It didn't look like they were serving last weekend.

    2. The map and address posted here by the Chowhound "helper" is for Liuzza's in Mid-City, not Liuzza's By The Track. You want the one by the track:

      1518 North Lopez Street
      New Orleans, LA 70119

      Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
      3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

      1. What about Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar @ 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 265 - 0421. Or what about Cafe Atchafalaya @ 901 Louisiana Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 891 - 9626. * Or what about Pacal's Manale Restaurant @ 1838 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans, LA. Call and see what you can do. My favorite would be Patois @ 6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 895 - 9441 but it may be too far out for you. You probably have a better chance of getting a reservation though. Bon Appetit.

        Cafe Atchafalaya
        901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

        1. You're talking about after the fest right? If so, Liuzza's btt will be impossible to get into. I walked by 4 times last weekend, and it was packed every time - before, during, and after the fest. Basically anywhere within 5 blocks of the fest probably won't be worth trying to get into, imo. Stop by and stick your head in, though; it couldn't hurt.

          Anyway, after the fest, either get out early before everyone else or get far away from the fairgrounds. We left about 30 minutes before the Allman's finished up and were able to walk in and sit right down at Juan's Flying Burrito (our post-fest go to joint). Needless to say, 30 minutes later the line was out the door. Your dress will limit the places too. If you go straight to dinner, you'll be sweaty and nasty so the nice joints are out of the picture. For example, I wouldn't set foot in Patois or Coquette while coated in Jazzfest grunge. The other option is get a late reservation, go shower, then go eat. That works, too. A late reservation will probably open up a lot more options. In sum, leave the fest early and beat the crowds or go clean up first and eat late.

          I really don't have any recs since it's really just every man for himself during jazzfest. It's nearly impossible to say who will have a table and who won't. You could go to Jacques Imo's right after the fest. You'd have to wait there just as long as you would any other weekend since you can't get a reservation. Good luck.

          Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
          3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

          Juan's Flying Burrito
          2018 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

          1. If you really are willing to get a cab, head to Crescent Sausage & Pie in Mid City. Wide variety of Louisiana style meats, jambalaya, and also great pizza. Five of us walked right in and were seated at about 8:00 last Saturday.

            1. Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I know that this is like all of the posts on the Austin board asking for recs during SXSW, and it's just a repetitive pain for regulars, so I appreciate your input.

              I'll poke into Liuzza's BTT, but every time I've walked by post-fest, it has been a madhouse. I'm thinking of showering and doing late dinner, so I'll check into these other options for Thurs and Fri. And, yes, I really will take a cab to avoid waiting hours for a table somewhere. We're probably going to skip the fest on Saturday (all night show on Friday and this body is gettin' too old) and do early dinner that night if it opens up any other suggestions.

              Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
              3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

              3 Replies
              1. re: ItGoesToMyHips

                You might indeed have better luck a bit earlier, if there's somewhere you're really interested in trying. You mentioned liking Clancy's - try calling Patois for an early Saturday reservation. It's just down the street from Clancy's and has a nice neighborhood atmosphere, although it's a little less "clubby" feeling than Clancy's.

                Another thought I had is MiLa in the Pere Marquette hotel on Common St. It's very, very good Southern-influenced food with top quality ingredients, many local. It's usually not awfully busy and it might be under the radar of many Jazz Fest visitors, and it's probably near where you're staying.

                And lastly, a good option for after Fest might be Neyow's Creole Cafe, which is in Mid-City but you could theoretically walk there from the Fairgrounds. It's probably about a 40 or 45 minute walk. Neyow's has a straightforward menu of fried seafood and the other usual suspects, and everything I've had there has been very good.

                If by "late dinner" you're thinking 10:00 or so, you should be able to get in anywhere by then. Last weekend I called around to Manale's, Patois, Lilette, and La Petite Grocery and they all said they could seat us between 10 and 10:30. We ended up going to Crescent Pie & Sausage, as I mentioned above, and it wasn't very busy.

                Good luck!

                3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

                La Petite Grocery
                4238 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1. re: ItGoesToMyHips

                  I was going to mention it in my first post, but I wasn't sure so I didn't. When I walked past Liuzza's, it didn't look like they were serving food. Now that Nikinik confirmed my suspicions, looks like Liuzza's is out of the question.

                  Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
                  3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                  1. re: N.O.Food

                    I knew that Liuzza's BTT would be busy during the Fest but I was unaware that they didnt serve food during the fest, Thks to those who corrected me, it was worth a shot. Jeff Beck's tomorrow!