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Felix's?!?

I just read about Felix's financial/IRS hardships, and I'm just plain disappointed! No more liquor license? Boooooo. My fiance and I are ANTI-ACME. Our next trip to Nola is next month, so here's the deal: where can we get some oysters AND a nice cold Abita, in a casual, friendly, dive-type setting (in the quarter)? We love standing at the bar and having each oyster shucked with some good conversation.

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  1. Felix's is still open and trying to get its liquor license back. Show them some support and bring them some business while they try to reorganize and survive.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gizmo56

      We're still planning on going as long as they're serving. So, if go-cups are legal in New Orleans, what about BYOB?

      1. re: JoanArkham

        Go-cups are definitely legal on the street, but you might want to call ahead to Felix's and see if they can permit alcohol purchased elsewhere to be consumed on their premises.

        Seems like a restaurant with no license to serve alcohol might not be allowed to have it consumed there either.

        1. re: Gizmo56

          I have been to restaurants in NOLA that permit BYOB because they don't have a liquor license to serve. I would definitely call ahead and see if you can bring your own. Abita is pretty available at any totesome in the area. Be sure to try their 25th anniversary Double Dog Vanilla Ale!

        1. re: Gizmo56

          Yeah. There is a Luke in San Antonio where I've been a few times, not really the vibe I'm looking for - plus it's a little far from the Quarter.

      1. I can't reach Felix's — their phone number is disconnected and the email address listed on their site bounces back. Anyone know if the axe has indeed fallen?

        I'm traveling to NOLA this week and trying to book a table for 10!

        3 Replies
        1. re: cabentley234

          Felix's website is still up, but I tried calling the number listed at the site and got the "no longer in service" message too.

          If they are not open for business, I would suggest Bourbon House, just up the street, as an alternative. I was there a week ago and enjoyed great oysters, a fine meal, and great service.

          1. re: Gizmo56

            Yeah, it's weird because there are Yelp reviews as recent as August 10 and no reports of it closing.

            1. re: cabentley234

              Yes indeed, it was open and it was spectacular.

        2. for a casual bar w/ oysters, i dont mind Red Fish Grill at all. on bourbon street just across from sister restaurant Bourbon House. im a big fan of their BBQ Oysters -- flash fried w/ Crystal hot sauce and served w/ a blue cheese dressing. damn tasty.

          not too many dive-bars w/ ersters that i can think of, tho.

          1. I just checked out Felix's page on Urban Spoon. Says PERMANENTLY CLOSED. I'm so disappointed! Can anyone confirm?

            15 Replies
            1. re: lilmoses

              im not entirely surprised. look at it this way -- right across the street people stand in line to get the same product, but despite the location customers didnt want Felix's. why? this is the art of business, but id wager part of it is the atmosphere -- Felix's interior looked & felt like an insurance company lobby.

              people want neat spaces. IMO, the usual elements to successful restaurants: Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value. gotta fire on at least 2 or 3 of those

              1. re: kibbles

                Felix's "fired" well enough for almost one hundred years. I don't think their problem has been a lack of customers or the atmosphere, I think it was likely more of a management/cash flow issue.

                The fact that they are being allowed to reorganize under the protection of the bankruptcy court is an indication that Felix's does have the potential to remain a going concern.

                1. re: Gizmo56

                  i dont know their history (~100 years?), but did visit them several times at two locations post-K. one closed years ago, the other (maybe) recently...the FQ location has zero atmosphere -- pale bare walls, bright fluorescents, etc... just wasnt an enjoyable place to pull up and eat. most posts on here amount to "fine for shucked, meh for everything else" - another strike.

                  dunno what the story is, but imo if they had a cash flow problem then they definitely had a lack of customers. customers & cash flow go together...

                  1. re: kibbles

                    "customers & cash flow go together"

                    ...well, only sometimes. Restaurants are complicated businesses and have to be carefully managed. There is an art to understanding how much each menu item costs in terms of ingredients and labor, and then to mark it up adequately to get a fair return. The owners have to find vendors who have the best value in pricing/quality. There are numerous ancillary costs for maintenance, plumbing, utilities, equipment, insurance, advertising and promotion, etc. Sometimes an owner can get hit with huge unexpected expenses when equipment or building issues arise suddenly. Costs can be a juggling act and the cash flow can go south in a hurry if management takes its eye off the ball. If invoices are paid late, vendors become reluctant to extend credit and a restaurant can collapse, even while busy with customers.

                    Again, the fact that they are reorganizing under bankruptcy indicates that they can make at least present a showing that they can sustain the business, given the revenues and the costs, the problem is that they are carrying too much debt from which they are seeking relief. Now, with no working telephone and no liquor license, and some angry vendors, they face many challenges along the road, but they clearly do have a reasonable number of loyal customers who are ok with the atmosphere.

                    Yes, they have been in continuous operation since the early 1900's, and they have been owned and operated by the same family for over 70 years. I hope they pull through.

                    1. re: Gizmo56

                      yep; my family ran restaurants my entire young life. definitely an art.

                      atmosphere is part of that art...crafting a space people are comfortable spending their time -- and money -- in. i think Felix's atmosphere is pretty lacking, paired w/ only "meh" (non-oyster bar) offerings...so if theres constantly a line of people waiting for the same product 15 feet away id argue im not alone. something is not working.

                      1. re: kibbles

                        You make a good point, regarding ACME. OTOH, I see lines outside of Mother's, and would not cross the street to dine there. I also see lines outside of many of the Copland restaurants, and while I have not dined at all, the ones, where I have dined, leave me scratching my head.

                        I also recall when Don's Seafood opened in Metairie. There were lines around the parking lot. Having dined at the original, we tried it several times. We were greatly underwhelmed by the Metairie location, but the lines continued. I was never sure why.

                        Hunt

                      2. re: Gizmo56

                        Well, I hope that they are successful.

                        Now, I do not go back quite 100 years, but more than half that. While my parents did the oyster bar, I was more into their po-boys (OK, "poor-boys" per the "New Orleans Magazine" dictate).

                        For me, and for my wife, the NOLA native, it has always had good po-boys, in a very friendly, and very "local" setting. Though architecture (interior and exterior) is part of my being, I cannot actually recall the venue that clearly. Yes, it was a tad stark, but then I encounter too many hokey "fishing" motifs, all too often.

                        The tables were plain, as were the chairs (still more comfortable than Cochon, which I enjoy). The po-boys, while not the best that I have ever tasted, were always very good - perfect blend of French bread, that was crisp on the crust, but chewy in the middle, fresh shredded lettuce, a hint of mayonnaise, Tabasco on the table, and shrimp that while maybe smallish, were cooked almost perfectly. I also always enjoyed the unique familiarity of the waitstaff, even if we had never met. My wife and I have had many excellent meals there, over the decades, and I, even longer. I do not recall if her family was a Felix's, or ACME family. Mine was split, right down the middle. The Southerners were fans of Felix's, and the Yankees were fans of ACME. While my family finally got over many things, like that "War of Northern Aggression," they never did work out Felix's vs ACME.

                        Now that we live far away, and do not get back to NOLA, as much as we'd like, there are many nights, when we ask each other, "What do you want to eat tonight?" Often times, and from both of us, the answer is "a shrimp po-boy from Felix's." As my NOLA B-I-L often sends us fresh shrimp, crabs, crawfish, drum and alligator, we will head out to get the best French bread in Phoenix, then fry up some of those Gulf shrimp, and try to emulate a Felix's shrimp po-boy. Great stuff, and a great model to work from.

                        I wish them the best.

                        Hunt

                  2. re: kibbles

                    Many people also stand in line for Mother's, and I cannot understand that.

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      my point wasnt that people line up at ACME because its good. my point was that the market is there -- a line of customers who obviously want the product that both ACME & Felix's sell, standing there right across the street. if Felix's isnt able to claim a healthy, workable portion of that eager marketshare, something's wrong (and, imo, atmosphere was part of that problem).

                      1. re: kibbles

                        No argument from me. Why one restaurant is popular, and another is not, can be a mystery.

                        You cite the interior design, and that might well be part of it. However, other than the Pontchartrain Beach area, what does the interior of Parkway Bakery have to offer? How about Charlie's Seafood, out in Harahan?

                        To me, one of the "sleekest interiors" is MiLa, but many on this board criticize that, and often overlook really good food.

                        Usually, people in New Orleans are less interested in interior design, and atmosphere, and more so on food. For me, Felix's came through on that count, but you ARE correct, the lines ARE in front of ACME. Personal tastes? I'll buy that. Like I have mentioned, half of my family were fierce ACME patrons.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          a pleasing interior does not equal sleek. Parkway has a wonderfully retro interior, including fixtures and old chalkboard specials. Charlies (before it closed) also maintained a classy retro interior.

                          as for sleek, i dont know of any that criticize MiLa for its interior. i have seen people note it's a modern interior, if thats important to one. and while it doesnt get much chatter, the comments i recall are all positive, owing to the solid food.

                          food is of course the main selling point, and i wouldnt argue that atmosphere trumps it. my point in this thread has been that the food at both ACME & Felix's are similar, so that can be ruled out. in general i wouldnt downplay the role of atmosphere, because after all what has New Orleans got over the rest of the country if not incredible atmosphere? excellent food, of course...which luckily for us is often wrapped in some of the most atmospheric neighborhoods in the country :)

                          1. re: kibbles

                            As for "atmosphere," I would argue that either Felix's, or ACME, might be lacking - at least to me. As far as food (what this forum is about), I give the nod to Felix's, but then my side of the family has more history there - the other side, were all ACME fans.

                            There IS an "ambiance," with either, and that gets personal. For me (us?), it is about the food, and Felix's has won each time.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              sure, personal prefs put the food nod one way or another...no question. but i find them pretty similar, and am suggesting that atmosphere is a metric that could explain why Brand X isnt luring as many of the willing & able patrons from right across the street. other possibilities would include service (which is why my three review categories are: Food, Service, Atmosphere), but i havent heard that Felix's service was poor.

                              1. re: kibbles

                                Could be. There are many factors, involved in who survives, and who thrives.

                                Hunt

                  3. re: lilmoses

                    That is so very sad for me. My family was divided between Felix's, and ACME. I was in the Felix's crowd, so am shedding a tear. I will always hold their Shrimp Po-boy, up near the top.

                    Hunt

                  4. So very sad about Felix's. I'll be in the quarters this weekend and will see what i can find out. Try Remoulade up the street (the casual side of Arnauds) it isn't divey, but will have oysters and cold Abita.

                    1. I just walked by and it's definitely open. There are people inside having lunch as we speak. I don't know what's up with the conflicting reports.

                      11 Replies
                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                          Yeay!

                          Hope the same is true in two weeks! One of our greatest memories was slurping oysters and Abita, in 2007. Chatting with the shucker, Mike, was the best part.

                          He had been the shucker at Uglesiche's and had just come back from his post-K exile to Houston. What a great guy.

                          We think we saw him at Casamento's on our last trip.

                          In any event, with a superstitious nod to the "R" rule, we're planning to stop on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

                          Hope Felix's pulls through!

                          1. re: uptownlibrarian

                            Urban Spoon says it's permanently closed. Hopefully someone will catch wind soon so there is no more confusion.

                            1. re: lilmoses

                              They were open when we were there late July but no beer due to license issues and it seemed liked food quality was also severely impacted.
                              .

                                1. re: FoodChic

                                  Yes, that fact is well-known. They filed under the chapter of the bankruptcy code that is designed for them to get relief from creditors, while staying in operation, with the goal of reorganizing the business to become profitable once again.

                                    1. re: FoodChic

                                      It’s still open. Passed by there the other day.

                                      1. re: FoodChic

                                        Felix's remains open for business, FoodChic. They have big challenges going forward, but don't write them off just yet.

                                        1. re: Gizmo56

                                          johnny whites hole in the wall closes now this please felix hang in there dont close

                                          1. re: joedontexan

                                            Johnny White's Hole in the Wall is open. The Sports Bar closed. They were only leasing the space from the owners of the rest of the Johnny White's, who hope to have the bar open by football season.

                              1. Reporting live from the counter @ Felix's FQ...1/2 dozen oysters, shrimp remoulade, seafood gumbo. love the divey but friendly atmosphere. Oysters plump, shucked fresh; shrimp sweet; gumbo somewhat undereasoned. No booze, cash only. OK by me.

                                --mcz

                                1 Reply
                                1. Stopped by yesterday with an Abita in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other. Atmosphere was great, just as I remembered. Chargrilled oysters were delish.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lilmoses

                                    Great to hear.

                                    As I am an avowed wino, the liquor license issue does not impact me. When doing a Shrimp Po-boy, I always go with a Barq's in a bottle. I do not ever recall having anything at Felix's, but a Barq's in a bottle.

                                    Thanks for reporting,

                                    Hunt

                                    1. We are leaving for N.O. in the morning. Any update on Felix's? Beer and wine maybe?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Mountaindog

                                        Ate there friday night. They let us bring our beer in and we had a wonderful meal. If anyplace can beat their chargrilled oysters i would love to know about it.

                                        1. re: nomnomyum

                                          That is one dish, that we've never tried there. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Maybe next trip?

                                          Thanks,

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            We are leaving this Saturday for NOLA & Felix's is always our go to place for char-grilled oysters. Glad to hear they are still open!! BTW-from one wino to another-not all Yankees prefer ACME over Felix's!! LOL

                                            1. re: NJlovesNOLA

                                              [Grin!]

                                              Must just be the Yankees in MY family...

                                              Enjoy, and travel safely,

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                Thanks. Really looking forward to being in my favorite city again!

                                      2. Felix's is my favorite place for oysters in New Orleans, regardless of their situation. I was just in a few weeks ago and the atmosphere has remained the same.

                                        A few other chowhounds would like the moderators to remove my post because of the title. It was never meant in an offensive way. Every response has been positive and informative. I would just like to apologize if anyone else finds my post negative or bothersome.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: lilmoses

                                          I fail to see any problem, but then I am anything but a MOD here.

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: lilmoses

                                            Your post was neither negative nor bothersome. I, for one, just found it disconcerting to see the old title every time I logged on. Looks like the mods changed the title, the lively discussion remains intact, and all is well.

                                          2. I don't mind supporting an old establishment that I loved...
                                            However, who is the new owner that thought it would be a good idea to rip out the wood bar and tear out the back wall of the oyster bar?? It is so sad in there now..depressing, no atmosphere..even the shuckers look bummed..this was an oyster eating landmark for me..first stop Felix's raw oysters ice cold Dixie then on with the day...now I don't want to stand at that sterile chrome bar. Going elsewhere w atmosphere. They took all the New Orleans out of it.
                                            Why would anyone ruin a great atmosphere and vibe like it always had? ( Please don't blame it on Katrina, that's what Mandina's does..like we don't have any artisans and companies that restore old bldgs to their original charm...obviously we do, the French Quarter is being restored every day to keep it the same. Perfect example is Napoleonhouse. I see little repairs being made all the time in there and it remains exactly the same. Restoring is key in the French Quarter, not a new sterile chrome bar and cheap bathroom mirrors tricks on the walls of the most famous oyster bar in town. :(

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: napoleonhousegrl

                                              nhgirl, Your points are all well taken. I am curious if you have inquired with the staff about the thinking behind those changes?

                                              From my own perspective, the fact that the new owners ponied up the cash and rescued a genuine FQ institution from the jaws of bankruptcy allows me to give them a pretty long leash, and the benefit of the doubt as they reboot the operation.

                                              If the choice is Felix's with "a new sterile chrome bar and cheap bathroom mirrors tricks on the walls" and the permanent demise of Felix's, I'll go with the chrome bar, etc.

                                              Again, when you ask "However, who is the new owner that thought it would be a good idea to rip out the wood bar and tear out the back wall of the oyster bar??" I think it might be fair to ask the people at the restaurant those questions, before raising them here.

                                              Who knows, the answers might actually make sense.