New Orleans is a fun drinking town, especially with all these great new cocktail bars cropping up. But with a fun drinking town comes the not-so-fun-hangover-morning town. Nothing is worse than having the life sucked out of you in a far-away hotel room. You know, the one with the frigid A.C. and sandpaper sheets.
But there is relief! We at Food Republic have spent some serious time being hungover in New Orleans. And we found a couple places that will help you get through the morning. And if you’re not hungover in New Orleans? Good for you. Hit these places up for lunch anyway.
When noted cocktail expert Dave Wondrich won a Spirited Award at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, he thanked his family, friends and closed with the message that he would see everybody later at Coop’s. Dave likes a good dive bar, and Coop’s is one of the best around, cracking bottles of Abita Abbey Ale late into the night. But to me, Coop’s is a morning destination (well, early afternoon; there is no morning in New Orleans) for Cajun fried chicken and rabbit jambalaya. The chicken, served since the spot opened in 1983, is the grand inspiration for Popeye’s slightly peppery golden birds. At least that’s my theory. After breaking through the golden crust, the juicy dark meat hints of a briny beginning.
But it’s the jambalaya that keeps people coming — and coming and coming. Expect a short line and please wait on it for a big bowl of this traditional rice dish that is often bastardized in the north. This is the real deal — a deeply flavorful marriage of tomato, smoked Andouille and gamey bits of boneless rabbit meat. If you walk past the kitchen out back, you can see the staff making this stuff 100 pounds at a time. I swear they let it sit overnight for the full effect. 1109 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA 70116 504-525-9053 coopsplace.net —Matt Rodbard
Most people/tourists flock to Acme on Iberville for New Orleans' famed oysters, but we beg to differ. The lines are long and it's just OK. Go across the street to Felix's for oysters with no wait and infinitely better atmosphere. Cozy up to the counter and you will be asked, "Are you ready for oysters?" And you better saddle up, because they won't stop shucking until you cry uncle, handing them to you straight on the counter. If you're in need of a real hangover helper (something greasy and buttery and salty) order the chargrilled oysters. Your salivary glands will kick into overtime when you see the guy behind the counter pouring ladles full of garlic butter over oysters on the half shell sitting on the grill. 739 Iberville Street New Orleans, LA 70130 504-522-4440 felixs.com —Gabi Porter
Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski are two guys who don’t mess around with their small plates. Serious dudes here. There's no pussy footing around with salads. Case in point, their fried boudin with pickled peppers at their flagship restaurant Cochon. It’s decadent, as are the pork cheeks with corn grits and fried alligator with chili garlic aioli. (A must order, even if the idea of alligator sort of grosses you out.) I love Cochon for an early, hazy afternoon lunch. Long and gluttonous, which can lead you right into cocktail hour. 930 Tchoupitoulas Street New Orleans, LA 70130 504-588-7675 cochonrestaurant.com —MR
There is only one reason to go to Fiorella's, across the street from Coop’s on Decatur Street, and that is fried chicken. This place doesn't have a website, the concrete floors and lazy ceiling fans ain't fancy. It's vaguely Italian (the name, the dusty Chianti bottles and plastic grapes festooned about the place), but the fried chicken is definitely something nonna didn't learn in Italia. Urban legend, and many of the guys who come by for lunch, will tell you that the place couldn't keep its doors open after Katrina, but the regulars rallied and got the place re-opened to bring back the chicken. It's crispy, golden brown, juicy and pretty damned near perfect. 1136 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA 70116 504-553-2155 —GP
Sometimes when you're hungover fancy snacks are in order to set you upright, and it doesn't get any fancier than the updated beignets at SoBou from chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez. Butternut squash dough with duck "debris" (a NOLA term for shredding the meat) topped with foie gras caramel. Yes please, we'll take another. 310 Chartres Street New Orleans, LA 70130 504-522-4095 sobounola.com —GP
When in NOLA you've gotta have a po' boy. They might not let you out of the city until you're able to prove you ate one. The list of places to go for a classic po' boy is as long as a pretty long arm, but a great place for the novice is Mother's. Order the house specialty, the Ferdi Special, or you will be disappointed when you see other people getting their sandwiches. We know: one guy at our table ordered collard greens and jambalaya and he looked very very sad. Don't make the same mistake. It's a roast beef po' boy with ham, "debris" (in this case beef) and gravy. 401 Poydras Street New Orleans, LA 70130 504-523-9656 mothersrestaurant.net —GP
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Sometimes you need a little hair of the dog that bit ya to get over the worst hangovers, and a great spot for some gentle daytime drinking is Lafitte's. Reputedly one of the oldest bars in America, it was never actually a blacksmith, but a front for pirates…or so we heard every time a donkey-drawn carriage full of tourists passed by. Order a few rounds of Abita and enjoy the quieter side of Bourbon Street. At night this place is just as rowdy as the rest of 'em, but in the daytime it's rather civilized, and if you're especially lucky a certain Mr. Cody Blaine Booth will be at the piano. 941 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70116 504-593-9761 lafittesblacksmithshop.com —GP
Port Of Call
This is the best kind of dive. Off the path a bit. Filled with locals. Limited menu. Good music. Go for two things: A grilled burger topped with shredded Cheddar cheese with a baked potato on the side and the Neptune’s Monsoon. It’s a mix of white rum, pineapple juice, industrial fruit punch and sour mix, served in giant plastic cups. We dare you to finish one and not fall off your stool. And if you do, the cycle just starts again. Love New Orleans. 838 Esplanade Avenue New Orleans, LA 70116 504-523-0120 —MR
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