Things going on in the city
There are restaurants open around town which is not that unusual. One is a pizza joint which was also a pizza joint before. Another is a Haitian restaurant which, when I first stumbled upon it, was in the food hall of the St. Roch market. Then there is a grocery store which is apparently going to have a restaurant opening on Broadmoor.
I have to admit I never had time to check Bonci. I regret it because I have heard good things about the food. I’m a fan of our local cuisine, but I’m also a fan of great food and if anyone brings great food here I’m all for it.
When I was younger, I learned what great pizza could be at Mark Twain’s Pizza Landing in Metairie. My friend Dan ran the show there and having grown up on Pizza Hut, Domino’s and the like it was an eye opener. This pizza had a crust worth eating. It was puffy and crisp and light and still chewy in places. He put garlic on the outside of the crust if you asked and I did it every time.
Dan was making New York-style pizzas (with a bit of a local twist) in the late ’80s, and this style of pizza – a thin crust baked quickly at super high heat – has taken a big place here with places like Pizza. Delicious, Mid City Pizza, and Nola Pizza Co., among others. Join this list, but with more sincerity, is Paulie Gee’s Crescent City Slice Shop, which takes over Bonci’s former location on Julia Street.
I love a good portion, and hope Paulie Gee provides one. I don’t know when I’ll be in the Warehouse District to spend $ 4.25 for a slice, but what if it’s really a good New York pie? I am here. For a part. If it’s mind blowing I will be back, but to be honest there are so many great pizzas near my home that I don’t take a special trip unless it’s worth it.
I’ll let you know if I get a chance to sample it, and if you’ve already checked it out, please email me or leave a comment.
I first tried chef Charly Pierre’s food at the Saint-Roch food hall, and I liked it. I think as I wrote about how strange it is that with all the connections between New Orleans and Haiti, we don’t have more Haitian restaurants here. I am very happy to say that Pierre has opened Fritai on Basin street and can’t wait to see his food in a more stable setting.
What you need to know is that Haitian food is very similar to ours in its basics. We are both Caribbean cultures, in the end, and while Haiti was closer to France than Spain, we both benefited from the influence of African, European and indigenous Caribbean cuisines. Hell, Haiti is pretty much the only other place that calls the gourde, “chayote” by its proper name, which is “mirliton”.
I recommend you visit Fritai, which you can do daily 4-10pm at 1535 Basin St. I think you’ll find some familiar flavors but served in a way that will surprise you.
Rouse’s is opening a market on Freret Street in the space that once sold lightly worn clothing through the Junior League. I learned this from my friend Ian McNulty in the Lawyer but there is a paywall on this site, so read on if you are not a subscriber. Here is what I can tell you: the space will not be big enough for a traditional grocery store. There will also be a restaurant and this restaurant will serve alcohol.
I love Rouse, and if given a choice, I’ll shop there at Winn Dixie or Sav-A-Center any day of the week, but I reserve judgment on this new place. This is a neighborhood in dire need of a grocery store, and I hope Rouse’s doesn’t anticipate this development to be just another ‘high end’ outlet for people looking to buy expensive cheese and cheese. mediocre wine bottles at moderate price. To be honest it’s absolutely me, but I don’t need another place to do this. The neighborhood needs a place that sells fresh produce at reasonable prices.
I am convinced that Rouse intends to do something good with this new location. I’ve spoken to a lot of their employees over the years since they opened their first store here and they get high marks which is a good sign. They use a lot of local farmers, ranchers and other vendors, and that’s a good sign too. I was not happy to see a family member who owns the business in the capital on January 6the, but based on what I know, I am ready to believe that the current management is not of the same opinion.
I have no idea how the new location will work, but it will be very close to where I live, so I will almost certainly be there within a day of opening. Like I mentioned about Paulie Gee’s, I’ll report back when I do.