If a good, hearty breakfast is the cure for what ails you, the former home of a neighborhood pharmacy in Faubourg St. John may still do the trick as a new cafe with seafood omelets, chicken and waffles and sweet potato pancakes.
Bayou Breakfast (3111 Grand Route St. John, (504) 252-9129) opened over the weekend in the building that was long home to De Blanc Pharmacy. That neighborhood standby closed in 2013, and the building later had a short stint as a frozen yogurt franchise.
Proprietors Idolka and Derek Villavaso have run a number of other businesses around town, and they saw a need for more breakfast service.
“That’s one thing everyone seems to want and we don’t have enough of,” said Derek Villavaso, who is also a partner in the Frenchmen Street restaurant and music venue Vaso.
Inside Bayou Breakfast, there’s a diner counter, a collection of tables and booths and a décor mixing cartoon images of alligators and bayou scenes with stylized photos of the Villavasos’ own children. They plan to add outdoor seating as well.
The menu is an extensive roster of mostly breakfast and brunch dishes, plus a few po-boys. Creole flavors are prominent, with beignets drizzled with chocolate sauce, catfish and grits and BBQ shrimp among the options. There are conventional breakfast plates, and also vegan versions with scrambled tofu, and the kitchen serves a selection of lighter starts. For instance, the chia pudding is a coconut milk pudding studded with chia seeds for a tapioca-like texture, topped with fruit and honey.
The menu also has a few Latin American breakfast items, a nod to the heritage of Idolka Villavaso.
A native of Nicaragua, she ran her homespun restaurant La Cocinita Escondida on Freret Street long before that area bloomed into a restaurant row, and before the city had many traditional Latin American restaurants. Her family now operates Sarita’s Grill from the same location.
Bayou Breakfast does not serve alcohol, though the owners said they plan to apply for a liquor license to do so in the future.
The Villavasos have a second, separate venture in the works in the Warehouse District, where they’re developing a juice bar called Joose Heaven at 841 Fulton St. The café will serve cold press juice, salads, smoothies and other light fare, and is expected to open in the next few weeks. Bayou Breakfast serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Oysters, karaoke on Avenue
There’s a new Japanese restaurant in the Lower Garden District with a suite of private karaoke rooms, a long menu of specialty rolls and the unusual addition of an oyster bar built into a section of the sushi bar.
Poseidon Oyster & Sushi Bar (2100 St. Charles Ave., 504-509-6675) opened recently in the ground floor of the Carol Condominiums building, a 1970s-vintage residential complex with a distinctive façade. The space was once a restaurant called the Chef’s Table, which was used as a teaching kitchen by the Culinary Institute of New Orleans.
As Poseidon, the space is divided into a full bar, a main dining room with a series of booths, a raw bar and four private rooms equipped for karaoke.
The menu has a familiar mix of rolls and sashimi, a few cooked dishes and appetizers and bento box lunches, but also makes room for raw, char-grilled or fried oysters.
Poseidon is open for lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily and late night (until 2 a.m.) on Friday and Saturday.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.