With a lease in hand for a new location in City Park, Cafe du Monde now has a timeline to open. It also has its food truck revving up to serve beignets and cafe au lait in the interim.

Café du Monde was the winner of a closely-watched bid process to operate a café and beignet parlor in the park’s historic Casino building.

It beat out longtime competitor Morning Call, which has operated its own location here since 2012.

Morning Call has set its final day of service in the park for Sunday, Jan. 20.

City Park officials say it has until Jan. 27 to move out.

Per its new lease, Café Du Monde has 90 days to build out the space. It has a round of renovations planned for the Casino building before opening.

Park officials say that while those renovations are underway, Cafe du Monde’s food truck will be deployed at the park to serve visitors. That truck, bearing the familiar Café du Monde logo, makes appearances at events and festivals,  serving sugar dusted beignets and coffee. 

Morning Call’s own future once it closes in City Park is uncertain. For at least some time, it will have no location. Morning Call closed its cafe in Metairie last spring after more than 40 year in business near Lakeside Mall.

Morning Call’s owners have vowed to re-open elsewhere, and say they are looking at prospective locations around the greater New Orleans area.

Cafe du Monde’s plans mark the latest in what has proven to be a long saga for the popular New Orleans beignet and coffee brands and City Park. It’s also one that has been eagerly followed by many in New Orleans, where connections to local food and storied old brands run deep.

It started early in 2018 when City Park put out a call for bids for a contract to operate a cafe in its Casino building. Café du Monde was awarded a 10-year lease, but in August a judge nullified the lease after Morning Call filed suit over the initial results.

City Park issued a new call for bids this fall. When they were in submitted in December, Café du Monde came in with the highest bid. Its offer to pay City Park $25,760 a month edged out the next highest bidder, Café Beignet, which offered $25,100. Morning Call's bid was $23,800.

The Casino Building, situated between a lagoon and the park's Botanical Garden, has been used by various concessions operators for many years.

City Park CEO Bob Becker has said bid the process was initiated to ensure the park could get the highest value for the concession there. He also said it was clear that park users wanted a beignet parlor in that location. The request for bids was tailored to draw local companies.

“Over the years, we’ve tried lots of different products there, and coffee and beignets has been by far the most popular,” Becker said.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.