Late Night Eats
Where even the after hours have their “after”
Photos by Marianna Massey / Photo Assistant Scott Williams
New Orleans is a late night town where “last call” is a myth,
and that goes for dining, too. Sure, in every city you can get a terrible slice of pizza on that city’s equivalent of Bourbon Street, a hot dog – or some other form of street meat – on a street corner or greasy diner food in the wee hours, but in New Orleans you can also find some dignified eats during these undignified hours of the night (but if you want, you can get all those other things, too). Here is a list of 20 places serving food until at least 2 a.m., and some way beyond 2 a.m., on some nights of the week. With a list that includes fine dining, breakfast, so many types of cheese fries and everything in between, there’s no reason to go through a drive-through when you have the late night munchies ever again.
Open 24 Hours Late Night Fine Dining Drunk Food Has Breakfast
Open until 3 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
601 Frenchmen, St., 309-3362 and other locations,
This rapidly expanding chain even ventured into the food court business recently when it opened an outpost in Metairie’s Lakeside Shopping Center, but perhaps its first big move was to erect a massive, two-story location on the site of an unused lot on Frenchmen Street. A huge, hulking presence, and impossible to miss because of its trademark, Dr. Bob-esque color scheme, it serves as Frenchmen’s drunk food Mecca. Basic franks, gourmet sausages and a few vegetarian options (and, if you’re a New Orleans vegetarian, there’s the “Sea Dog”: tempura fried cod) are customizable with toppings, but there are also some special dogs with corresponding toppings, too. There are several cheese fries options, including the bacon ranch cheddar fries and Anna’s White Trash Fries, which are dressed like nachos and then some.
> Known for: Dogs with customizable toppings and cheese fries
> Don’t miss: The crawfish étouffée special with crawfish sausage, bacon ranch cheddar fries
MIMI'S IN THE MARIGNY
Open until 2 a.m. Sun.-Thurs.; until 4 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
2601 Royal St., 872-9868,
In Spain you eat late into the night, and you can mimic that experience at Mimi’s in the Marigny, where its tapas menu has been holding court as a New Orleans late night food favorite for years. Even during its peak popularity, when DJ Soul Sister hosted her Saturday night dance parties (she’s since moved to the Hi-Ho Lounge) and the bar topped local best-of lists, you could still bank on quality food between turns on the dance floor or at the pool table. Goat cheese croquettas, which are lightly fried but lacking in a thick, bready batter, come drizzled with honey; toasts come topped with mushrooms and melted manchego; a plate of figs and dates stuffed with bleu cheese hits all the sweet and savory marks. The “trust me” gets you a mystery tapas dish according to the chef’s whim.
> Known for: Spanish tapas
> Don’t miss: Goat cheese croquettas, manchego toast
Open 24 hours daily
165 Roosevelt Way,
It is truly an odd thing to find a full Middle Eastern eatery inside of a convenience store at an otherwise quiet corner in the CBD. While the harsh lighting will never let you forget that you’re eating in a convenience store, Cleo’s chic dining environment and food presentations will help to counteract that. Cleo’s serves typical Middle Eastern fare, such as hummus, labneh, falafel and gyro, but done better than most places in the city. In addition, there are also some breakfast items if you’re starting or ending your day here (the distinction fades when it gets really late). A godsend for vegetarians looking for late-night grub, Cleo’s shows that food consumed at nontraditional hours doesn’t have to be completely unhealthy. Bonus: If you’re one of the many people moving to the neighborhood’s proliferating apartment complexes, they deliver.
> Known for: Middle Eastern standards done well
> Don’t miss: Cleo’s Special (contains hummus, baba ghanoush, grape leaves, kibbie and labneh)
WOOD PIZZA BISTRO & TAPHOUSE
Open until 2 a.m. Thurs.-Sat.
404 Andrew Higgins Drive,
There are a few places serving good Neapolitan pizza around town, but the relatively new Wood Pizza Bistro & Taphouse has the distinction of serving this kind of pizza really late on the weekends. It also boasts a big patio covered with elegantly strung lights. Both the service and some of the non-pizza menu items are hit and miss, but the pizza is done well, perfectly crisped from the oven and featuring the usual toppings suspects. Scallops and cauliflower roasted in the wood oven and served with a black sesame flecked yogurt sauce is a popular small plates option.
> Known for: Neopolitan pizza, small plates and beer
> Don’t miss: Tutti carne pizza and wood oven roasted scallops
Open until 2 a.m., Fri.-Sat.
3641 Magazine St., 891-1810,
With a mid-century modern interior and plenty of flirty, Don Draper-esque executives hanging around, the vibe here is like a swinging 1960s cocktail party without the creepy Jell-O molds. The specialties here are refined bar snacks, some recalling the bar’s 1960s-style environs. The trio of deviled eggs features a cast of rotating toppings like smoked salmon with crème fraîche and roe, duck confit and Comté cheese. There’s also a whole section of the menu devoted to fried things, including well-seasoned fries with aioli and fluffy, salty Gouda beignets. From chef John Harris of the neighboring Lilette, Bouligny is its casual, hipper, but still pretty expensive, sister. On weekends, when the bar has late-night hours, the place gets very crowded with gorgeous people.
> Known for: Mid-century modern decor, refined bar snacks, fine wine and small plates
> Don’t miss: Deviled eggs, Gouda beignets and fries aioli
All locations listed open 24 hours daily
2317 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, 831-3681; 4150 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, 833-9349; 10701 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge, 738-9678; 2239 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 441-5600;
While the aesthetic here is all-American 1950s roadside diner with its neon logo and sassy diner waitress mascot, the vibe of Dot’s Diner is distinctively Jefferson Parish yat (the slogan heard all over radio stations: “I’m not ya mama, but ya always at home at Dot’s Dinah”). At the 2317 Jefferson Highway location, you’ll find tables full of friends and families congregating, or diners solo reading the paper, as well as employees of the nearby Ochsner hospital stopping before or after shifts. Some trivia: An important scene in the movie Blaze, about Earl Long and his romance with stripper Blaze Starr, was supposedly filmed at that location, although it wasn’t Dot’s at the time. It also offers items for those on Atkins.
> Known for: 1950s diner theme and breakfast food
> Don’t miss: Crawfish Creole Biscuit with Crawfish Julie Sauce
BACKSPACE BAR & KITCHEN
Open until 5 a.m. daily
139 Chartres St., 322-2245,
Capitalizing on the literary history of the French Quarter, this Chartres Street bar has themed decor, comfortable antique furniture and generously sized cocktails bearing names like Death in the Afternoon. The theme only goes so far, as you’re more likely to hear late 1990s grunge rock blaring from the speakers than jazz. But what truly matters is that this place is open until 5 a.m. and still has good food, like a juicy meatloaf sandwich (get it with cheddar) that destroyed all my bad meatloaf memories stemming from childhood, and what it claims to be the best burger in the French Quarter. Who knows if that’s fact or fiction, but at 4 a.m. one might be prone to hyperbole.
> Known for: A fun literary theme
> Don’t miss: The hot meatloaf sandwich with cheddar
Open until 2 a.m. daily
219 N. Peters St., 525-4111,
If you’re stumbling around the French Quarter late at night you might be tempted to order a slice of pizza and giant frozen daiquiri from one of Bourbon Street’s several outposts of Mango Mango (or a number of other similar places). But walk a few blocks over to N. Peters Street at St. Lawrence, where they have frozen Pimm’s cups and “elevated bar fare.” You will find excellent fried chicken; if you can’t commit to a full plate of that there’s an appetizer of sweet-spicy Crystal wings with a creamy goat cheese dipping sauce. There is also lots of Gulf seafood on the menu, crawfish deviled eggs and mac-and-cheese with Gouda and cheddar. Since this place is named after the patron saint of cooks and chefs, it’s a great place to hit after a shift.
> Known for: Elevated southern bar fare
> Don’t miss: Fried chicken and frozen Pimm's cups
Open until 2 a.m. daily
640 Louisa St., 9430785,
Because this is a bustling Bywater bar, getting a lot of traffic from young, punky folks fresh off a swim at the neighboring Country Club, it can get pretty busy here and the kitchen can be inconsistent. The menu is basic bar food with things like quesadillas, baskets of chicken fingers and onion rings and fries, but on a good night the Buffalo wings are some of the best in the city. The wings are dredged in a light batter and fried, giving them an ideal level of crispiness, tossed in a bright red, buttery, spicy sauce. Get the blue cheese dressing on the side, which is a cool, chunky foil to the wings – once you’re done the wings you’ll be frantically looking around for anything at all to dip in that dressing. Just be sure to wipe your fingers before hitting the shuffleboard table.
> Known for: Basic bar food, shuffleboard
> Don’t miss: Buffalo wings with bleu cheese sauce
Open 24 hours daily
56 Dreyfous Drive, 300-1157,
Even though it’s mostly a tourist place, many diehard locals would admit that Cafe du Monde is still good. There is an equally diehard contingent of locals that would say that Morning Call, a similar coffee-and-beignets place that was first in the French Quarter but then moved out to Metairie, has even better beignets than Cafe Du Monde. That is a fight that will never get settled, but the Morning Call location in City Park is a more pleasant trek, with ample parking and prime location. The restaurant serves New Orleans food, too, but it’s best to stick with the classic: beignets and frozen, iced or hot cafe au lait. Note: Cash only.
> Known for: Beignets and cafe au lait
> Don’t miss: Beignets and cafe au lait
Open 24 hours daily
1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038,
A rowdy dive bar outside the French Quarter with a back room staging a wide variety of entertainment, from comedy to music of various genres, warrants a 24-hour menu of pub grub. The food and service can be spotty depending on the hour, but the Buffa’s Burger has garnered legions of devotees that will argue – drunkenly, most likely – that it’s better than that of the more well known neighbor Port of Call. Another favorite is the fried rice, which tastes even better after you’ve been waiting 20 minutes for it.
> Known for: Divey atmosphere, a popular burger
> Don’t miss: Buffa's burger and fried rice
Open until 2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
626 S. Carrollton Ave., 309-2679
When this classic New Orleans diner closed following Hurricane Katrina, people wrote gushing notes on the padlocked doors like it was the Wall of Love in Verona. It eventually came back, and it feels mostly the same – there’s still a line out the door at all times, hilarious grill cooks still sliding patrons their chili cheese omelets down the marble bar. They opened an outpost in the French Quarter that wasn’t as good and no longer carries the Camellia Grill name, but the Riverbend location is still going strong. Go there for late-night breakfast food and desserts like pie grilled in butter and “freezes,” something between a shake and a slush, in different flavors.
> Known for: Breakfast food, "freezes" and pie
> Don’t miss: Chilli cheese omelette with pecan pie and a chocolate-cherry freze
Open until 2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
200 Julia St., 252-9470,
Before he went on to create Square Root, the Lower Garden District prix fixe restaurant for serious foodies, chef Phillip Lopez – a veteran of John Besh kitchens and the now-closed Rambla – opened his first restaurant, Root, in the Warehouse District spot that formerly housed short-lived Houston import Feast. The menu specializes in deconstructed versions of familiar foods, spanning styles from the American South to India, and somehow the many components on the menu come together harmoniously. Especially composed are the desserts; a recent one featured coffee, cardamom and Corn Pops ice cream. If you’ve been drinking and you’re craving fried food, Root has a dignified appetizer option version of chicken and biscuits: Fried wings with a buttermilk dipping sauce, miso butterscotch biscuits and a sweet potato sorghum butter to spread on the hot bread.
> Known for: Playful deconstructions of new-American and international cuisine
> Don’t miss: "Sweet tea" country fried chicken wings and anything on the dessert menu
Open until 4 a.m. daily
517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345,
The Frenchmen Street stalwart sometimes feels like the eye of the storm, attracting a laid-back crowd despite the madness happening outside. It is probably one of the few places to find a large selection of vegetarian and vegan bar food, including a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs or tofu, vegan chili and the barbecue tofu sandwich. Perhaps the most famous item here is the Tater Tachos, a mound of the fried tots piled high with all the nacho fixins. There is also a rotating list of daily specials and, because this is a Monaghan’s enterprise, there’s frozen or hot Irish coffee and hot buttered rum for to keep your hands warm while catching Krewe du Vieux.
> Known for: Vegan and vegetarian bar food, plus plenty for carnivores
> Don’t miss: "Srirachos," Tater Tachos served with a Sriracha ranch dipping sauce
Kitchen open until 2 a.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 4 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243,
There is a disclaimer on Avenue Pub’s website saying, “We are a beer bar, not a restaurant!” The bar did once have a bar menu with a legendary duck sandwich, so maybe that warning is to temper expectations of the patrons who experienced those glorious days. But the food here is still very good, especially when paired with the bar’s selection of craft beers, which ranks among the best in the city. Chefs Carlie Worden and Joel White’s menu of hardy pub grub includes burgers, the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich and a menu of fries that ranges from the fancy-sounding pommes frites to the gut-busting Dump Truck Fries, topped with béchamel, roasted pork, grilled onions and port wine au jus foie gras burger. Lighter options include house made hummus and a cheese plate from St. James Cheese Company.
> Known for: Hearty, beer-friendly pub grub
> Don’t miss: Dump Truck Fries
Open until 2 a.m. daily
1601 St. Charles Ave., 302-9717,
This giant spot on St. Charles Avenue is one of the few places selling Asian food late at night that isn’t a convenience store or a gastropubs selling trendy permutations of Asian standards. The menu runs the gamut of Asian cuisine, with Chinese standards, sushi and Asian-Cajun creations (spring rolls with alligator, crawfish and oysters). Inexpensive but with luxe interiors, this is a great place to go with a big group of people who can’t agree on what to eat.
> Known for: Pan-Asian cuisine, Asian-Cajun mashups
L'ENFANT TERRIBLE AT MOLLY'S AT THE MARKET
Open until 2 a.m., Thurs.-Sat.
1107 Decatur St.,
Molly’s has been the site of a rotating cast of kitchen tenants, from a truly awful mac-and-cheese place to a purveyor of refined tacos, but the latest – I hope – is here to stay. The menu is a selection of globetrotting bar snacks, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Crinkle fries are topped with a curried béchamel-like sauce with peppers and scallions; rangoon are filled with a creamy buffalo chicken and served with a soy dipping sauce; their twist on a Scotch egg is wrapped in boudin and fried. Let us hope this pop-up stays permanent.
> Known for: Globetrotting bar snacks using fresh ingredients
> Don’t miss: Buffalo chicken rangoon
City Park, Metairie locations listed open 24 hours daily; Jefferson Highway until 4 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
500 City Park Ave., 486-2559; 2008 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, 889-2837; 4101 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, 837-9419;
It is Louisiana’s own greasy hamburger chain, and a classic for families and up-to-no-good youth in the suburbs. The chain has several locations shoved into strip malls or besides interstates and last year expanded to Covington, but the best one is its City Park Avenue outpost, which has fully recovered after a fire in 2014. Go here for charbroiled hamburgers, thin-cut fries topped with chili cheese and Bud’s signature hickory sauce, which tastes like a smoky ketchup. If you’re longing for a Hubig’s, try a fresh-fried cherry hand pie topped with powdered sugar, which turns into a delicious paste when sprinkled on the hot pie.
> Known for: Greasy, but good, fast food standards
> Don’t miss: Charbroiled burgers, chili cheese fries with hickory sauce and cherry hand pies
All of the places mentioned above are full-service restaurants or bars with ample seating. But because it’s worth knowing, here are a few places that didn’t quite fit in, either because they’re food trucks or pop-ups, or places with nowhere to sit besides the curb outside. The bright red La Cocinita food truck (LaCocinitaFoodTruck.com) serves up Latin American street food, like a bowl with rice, black beans and quest fresco topped with chipotle crema, outside the Rendezvous bar on Magazine Street until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturdays. Congreso Cubano (facebook.com/CongresoCubano) serves empanadas, ham croquettes and the signature Cuban sandwich on the back patio of the Hi-Ho Lounge until 2:30 a.m. Saturdays during DJ Soul Sister’s HUSTLE dance parties. For late night poor boy shops, local favorites are Gene’s Po-Boys (GenesPoBoys.com) and Verti-Marte (525-4767), both open 24 hours.