There’s a new breakfast spot bound for Faubourg St. John, at an address that for generations served as a family-run pharmacy.
Bayou Breakfast is slated to open in early July at 3111 Grand Route St. John, serving what proprietor Derek Villavaso describes as “classic breakfast with a Creole twist.”
“The focus is on breakfast, because that’s one thing everyone seems to want and we don’t have enough of,” he said.
The New Orleans native also runs Vaso, a music venue and restaurant on Frenchmen Street. He’s developing Bayou Breakfast with his wife, Idolka Villavaso, who hails from Nicaragua and in the years before Hurricane Katrina ran one of the few traditional Latin American restaurants in the city proper. She operated her homespun La Cocinita Escondida on Freret Street long before that area bloomed into a restaurant row, and her family now operates Sarita’s Grill from the same location.
In addition to Bayou Breakfast, the couple is also developing a juice bar in the Warehouse District. They plan to open Joose Heaven in August at 841 Fulton St., along a stretch of other restaurants there, serving cold press juices, salads, smoothies and other light fare.
Bayou Breakfast is taking shape inside the distinctive L-shaped building at a busy corner of Esplanade Avenue that was home to De Blanc Pharmacy. The drug store was a neighborhood institution in business for more than 50 years before closing in 2013. The address then had a brief spell as a frozen yogurt parlor, a franchise of the chain Tutti Frutti.
The new restaurant will include a diner counter and table service. Villavaso said they plan to serve breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch to begin, with a breakfast-all-day menu, and eventually add dinner. They won’t have a liquor license when they open, and Villavaso said they had not yet decided if they would seek one for Bayou Breakfast.
Meanwhile, Joose Heaven will be a small, counter service café they hope will appeal to people looking for quick, light meals downtown and near the convention center.
“We travel a lot and in other cities these places are on every other corner, so we want to get ahead of the curve here,” Villavaso said of the juice bar.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.