Next month, the Historic New Orleans Collection will debut a major new expansion, with more exhibition spaces to tell the city’s story. A new eatery in the museum also will pick up that thread on its menu.

Café Cour is slated to open April 8 at the Historic New Orleans Collection’s new exhibition center at 520 Royal St., across the street from the museum’s original location.

cour door

Cafe Cour opens to the courtyard of the new Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition space on Royal Street, serving a casual menu inspired by New Orleans history. 

The cafe is an offshoot of Carmo. At that Warehouse District restaurant, the chefs Christine and Dana Honn serve a menu of global tropical flavors, spanning from the Pacific Rim to the Gulf of Mexico.

At Café Cour, they’ll serve a casual, morning-through-lunch menu with dishes linked to the city’s culinary progression. A creamy red bean soup from Haiti (sos pwa), a “pre-roux” gumbo linked to the famous dish’s African roots, and akara, or black-eyed pea fritters, a relative of old New Orleans calas, are all on the opening menu.

So is the muffulettu, an Italian sandwich similar to the muffuletta but filled with tuna and anchovy paste instead of cured meats.

“This is a sandwich that was sold by Sicilians street vendors in the French Quarter at one point, so we’re bringing it back here,” said Dana Honn.

Coffee and morning pastries, salads and plates of regional charcuterie and seafood charcuterie (shrimp sausage, smoked mackerel, Spanish-style salt-cured tuna) join the list of sandwiches and entrees.

Honn said his aim with Café Cour is to field easy, casual dishes for quick meals that still can tell stories about the city’s history and the many communities that developed it.

“It’s about Louisiana foodways and the deeper cultural connections that come together through it,” Honn said.

The Historic New Orleans Collection’s expansion is a $38 million project that has transformed the Seignouret-Brulatour Building into an exhibition center. In addition to a new, purpose-built rear building, the complex doubles the size of the museum’s public spaces.

Café Cour fronts a courtyard in the center of the complex, with a small indoor dining area and more tables outside.

Admission to the exhibition spaces, and its cafe, will be free.

Revamped Franklin reopens

FranklinNB.091814

The Franklin Restaurant is at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Dauphine Street in New Orleans.

When the Franklin, 2600 Dauphine St., first opened in 2014, it was part of the changing pace for the Marigny and its adjacent neighborhoods. Closed since the summer, the Franklin is now back after shifting gears itself.

This new Franklin officially opened Monday. The name and location are the same, but the restaurant has a new management team, a new chef and a new focus.

“We’re more casual, more approachable and a little more affordable,” said Ken Jackson, the Franklin’s new managing partner.

With its large bar and dark, stylish interior and a menu of modern bistro-style dishes, the Franklin always toed the line between lounge and restaurant. Jackson describes the new approach as a gastrobar, a little more polished than perhaps gastropub implies and every bit as much about drinks as food.

Chef Dane Harris returned to New Orleans from Chicago to run the kitchen. His opening menu has dishes like beef tartare with pho garnishes, smoked redfish rillettes, shaved ham and cheese with brown butter, pork schnitzel Pariser and a burger.

Meanwhile, the bar zeros in on martinis and natural wines.

The drinks list was designed by a trio of local bartenders now working together on cocktail consulting: Evan Wolf, of the Company Burger; Matt LoFink, of Cure; and Jason Sorbet, of Barrel Proof.

Starting from the classic martini, the bar will specialize in its family of variants, like the vesper, Martinez, el president and Rosita, as well as contemporary takes on the style.

The Franklin’s comeback also marks a return for Jackson, who spent the past dozen years in the food and beverage business around New York. He got a start in the business back in the 1990s with chef Susan Spicer and the retail company she then ran, Spice Inc. Along with Spicer, he was one of the original partners in Herbsaint, which later became a Donald Link restaurant.

The Franklin serves dinner Monday through Saturday.


Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.