The South Market District will bring a lot to the table for CBD dining, but there are plenty of other restaurants preparing to open downtown, beginning this week and continuing in the months ahead.
First up is Trenasse (444 St. Charles Ave., 504-680-7000; trenasse.com), a restaurant based on Gulf Coast seafood and south Louisiana hunting camp flavors from chef Jim Richard, a Commander’s Palace alum who developed the popular Stinky’s Fish Camp in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It’s slated to open Friday as part of the InterContinental hotel and will have a large outdoor seating area under a retractable awning.
A few blocks away, Le Méridien (333 Poydras St., 504-525-9444; lemeridienneworleanshotel.com), which recently rebranded the former W Hotel on Poydras Street, expects to open its new restaurant LMNO on Dec. 15. Pitched as serving modern American cuisine with Creole and Cajun influences, it takes over the previous home of the Whiskey Blue nightspot.
More is on the way from local names. St. James Cheese Co., the Uptown cheese and sandwich shop, plans to open a second location in the 600 block of Tchoupitoulas Street, likely by March. This downtown edition will serve more hot dishes beyond sandwiches and salads, and proprietor Richard Sutton said the shop would also offer what he’s dubbed “a cheese bar.”
“It will be like a sushi counter, where people can experiment with these specific combinations of cheese and other ingredients, these perfect little bites, to hopefully learn more about the artisanal cheeses,” he said.
Chef Justin Devillier and Mia Freiberger-Devillier, of Uptown’s La Petite Grocery, plan to open a more casual restaurant called Balise at 640 Carondelet St., in the former home of Ditcharo’s bar, a building that dates to the 1830s. Expect a tavern look befitting the vintage of the structure, Devillier said, and an opening as early as January.
And closer to the Convention Center, the old brick icehouse at 404 Andrew Higgins Blvd. is being converted to Wood, which developer Billy Wright describes as a “pizza bistro and tap room.” A wood-fired pizza oven fronted by a dining counter and a long bar with 40 brews on draft will occupy the small interior, while most of the seating will be arrayed across a patio trimmed with festival lights. Wood is slated to open shortly after Thanksgiving.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.