So, What Exactly is a Womelette?

Shane Pritchett recently opened Fat Hen Grocery and Deli at 7457 St. Charles Ave. Like the original Fat Hen Grill, Fat Hen Grocery is principally a diner-style restaurant, but in keeping with the “grocery” in its name there’s a small, eclectic mix of items on sale in the rear of the restaurant. The most interesting of these are the house-made barbecue sauce and mixed-berry jam bearing Fat Hen labels. The other offerings – including olives and olive oil, hot sauces and gourmet sodas – don’t have any obvious connection to each other or to the food served at Fat Hen, but look at them as lagniappe. If you’re eating and suddenly remember you desperately need pomegranate soda, you’re in business.

Breakfast is served all day, and in addition to the typical offerings Pritchett serves a dish of his own invention: the Womelette – an omelet baked on a Belgian waffle – and you can get it with spinach, onions, potatoes and jack cheese (the Blanco); American cheese, ham and bacon (the Royal American); or cheddar cheese, beans, green onions and sour cream (the Texan).

The rest of the menu doesn’t really change for the duration of service. There are deli sandwiches, burgers, salads and several plates such as meatloaf, chicken pot pie and a fish special that changes regularly. Fat Hen has also begun serving barbecue in the form of pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs and chicken wings. When I was there last, a chalkboard promoted specials such as a slow-smoked lamb steak with bourbon onions and a side salad, and hot-smoked salmon with wild mushrooms, herbed ricotta cheese, scrambled eggs and farm bread.

The restaurant’s dominant feature is a mural on the long wall on the Cherokee Street side of the building depicting various cuts that come from pigs, chickens, cows and lamb. The front of the restaurant has a diner-style counter on the opposite wall, a deli counter further back and the aforementioned retail space at the very rear.

Fat Hen is open Sundays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Call 266-2921 for more information.

John Besh’s new cookbook, My Family Table, is out. It is more than a collection of recipes, though there are 140 of those; chapters begin with advice on things such as stocking and organizing your pantry, planning weeknight meals and entertaining for Sunday brunch. Like his last cookbook, My New Orleans, Family Table is photographed beautifully, and the recipes are, for the most part, simple and easy to follow. The book retails for $35, and if you’re still looking for Christmas gifts, it would be a good choice.

Duke LoCicero, who operates Cafe Giovanni on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, has announced plans to open a seafood restaurant and market on the lakefront next year. The restaurant, which will be located at 7842 Lakeshore Drive, will be called Duke’s on the Basin: A Seafood Camp, and will feature approximately 4,000 square feet of dining space, a 375-foot-long fuel dock and boating supply store and a fish and shellfish market offering products from local fishermen. Lakeshore Drive was once home to a vibrant restaurant scene; here’s hoping Duke’s on the Basin represents the first step towards a return. As the opening date approaches, expect to see an update or two here.

Steve Watson and Ben Sherman, who own the King Pin bar at 1307 Lyons St., recently opened Midway Pizza at 4725 Freret St. It serves a deep dish-style pizza, though not precisely what you’d get from a restaurant in Chicago. There are a baker’s dozen “signature” pizzas, including the Slim Harpo, which is onion, green pepper, mushrooms and black olives, and the Natty “E,” which is topped with roasted chicken, bacon, tomatoes, onion and a green goddess sauce. You can also build your own pie with toppings you’d find at any other pizza place, plus some premium toppings such as house-made meatballs and prosciutto. The restaurant has an impressive list of beers and wines at reasonable prices.

Midway is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, and you can call in an order at 322-2815.

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