Mimi’s: Italian dining in River Ridge
Mimi’s Italian and Seafood Restaurant opened in 1975 as a family owned venture catering to the River Ridge clientele. Serving basic Italian and seafood dishes, the restaurant soon became a popular spot.
Executive Chef David Whitmore and Vicki Bullard Fulco assumed ownership in May 2002 and changed the atmosphere and cuisine to be a bit more upscale, though the prices remain a bargain. “Our three-course small plate menu with a glass of wine or bread pudding have been very popular,” says Fulco. She attributes the restaurant’s success today to a warm, inviting and romantic atmosphere – fresh flowers, white tablecloths and candles adorn the tables and guests sit comfortably in dark cherry wood chairs.
The restaurant also features an in-house birthday promotion that gives a free bottle of house wine to those who sign up during the month of a customer’s birthday.
This fall, Fulco says that the menu will feature traditional dishes such as root vegetables and braised meats. “On our prix fixe menu, we will incorporate some braised sausages and seasonal salads,” she adds.  
 “As a small business,” Fulco says, “ we work hard at supporting the community whenever possible and enjoy the feeling of pleased customers telling us, ‘We’ll be back soon.’”
Information, 10160 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge; 737-6464,www.mimisriverridge.com.
 Dining Features
Savoring delight at Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro
Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro offers an array of dishes including salads, fried seafood platters, meats and sandwiches. The Bistro, which offers a casual yet exciting atmosphere, was proud to reopen its St. Charles Avenue location last January after it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Now once again, guests can delight in the menu, which spans a broad range including Creole, French, Cajun, Asian, Homestyle, Southwestern, Mediterranean and Mexican.
    While the restaurant serves generous portions, diners should still save room for dessert because as the name implies, Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro offers a wide selection of specialty cheesecakes with flavors including Bananas Foster, Fresh Strawberry, White Chocolate Macadamia, Cherries Jubilee, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, White Russian, Turtle, Fudge Brownie and more.
Information, 593-9955, 2001 St. Charles Ave.; 454-7620 4517 Veterans Blvd., Metairie. For more locations throughout the country, visitwww.copelandscheesecakebistro.com.

Dining Features
Red Fish and funkiness
Red Fish Grill, a casual local seafood restaurant, is located on the first block of Bourbon Street, right off Canal Street. Because of its location, it attracts locals as well as tourists.
With its emphasis on fresh Gulf fish, prepared by Executive Chef Gregg Collier, the restaurant has a “funk and funky décor,” says Executive Vice President of the Ralph Brennan Group, Charlee Williamson. She recommends the Barbecued Oysters, Alligator Sausage & Seafood Gumbo, Hickory Grilled Redfish – and to save room for dessert:  the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding is a winner.
The restaurant features hand-painted tables, oversized oyster mirrors and neon lights, while a sea of metal fish swim overhead. Three private rooms and a lively oyster bar add zest to the establishment. On top of that, Williamson says the restaurant has achieved success because of caring service and a comfortable, festive ambiance.
Information, 598-1200, 115 Bourbon St.