The Butter Krisp Restaurant opened in 1933 as a doughnut shop located at 1903 St. Charles Ave. Despite curbside service from girls costumed in overalls and jaunty hats and plans for door-to-door doughnut sales, they soon moved down the street to 2010 St. Charles Ave. and morphed into a hybrid doughnut shop and causal diner with a reputation for a tasty steak sandwich.
The new location had a large parking lot in the back and provided car-side service, essentially doubling their dining room space. When it was too hot for these parking lot “auto parties,” patrons could go inside and enjoy the air-conditioned dining room – a rare feature in 1936 New Orleans.
When Floyd Brainard became the general owner in 1936, he changed the service model, removing doughnuts as the focus, and Butter Krisp became a full-service homestyle restaurant.
The restaurant featured locally accessed foods, including fresh seafood and seasonal fruit pies. But their coffee was proudly advertised as “Northern coffee” with no chicory, for those locals and visitors who preferred it “pure.”
In 1945, Edward Rodriguez purchased the restaurant. Cuban-born but raised in New Orleans, Rodriguez quickly brought changes to Butter Krisp. Recognizing New Orleans’ growing trade relationships with Latin America, he capitalized on his heritage and the changing times. A large neon sign declaring “New Orleans Air Hub to the Americas” appeared on top of the building, Latin-American murals were painted inside, and he hired a Caribbean chef who added arroz con pollo, empanadas, and more to the menu. Business increased by 25%.
Butter Krisp stayed true to its local customer base as well. They kept prices low and named their cocktails after local establishments, like Esso and Pontchartrain. Plate lunch specials drew in businessmen midday, and breakfast and dinner kept the dining room full from sunrise to well past sunset, as the late-night crowd could stop in until 1 a.m.
Butter Krisp expanded its dining room in 1950 to include a soda fountain and a private dining room. It maintained its popularity throughout the following years but closed in 1957.
The Butter Krisp restaurant in 1950. Not only was Butter Krisp one of the first buildings in the city to be air-conditioned, it was also said to be the first in New Orleans with oval end windows. After the restaurant closed in 1957, the building was used as a valet business for a short while, and then opened as Toy’s Cleaners in 1967, which it remains to this day.