Friday, October 17, 2008

Franchise Quarter

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 6:05 PM

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When Felipe’s, proprietor of New Orleans’ best $5 plates slung up like prison slop, announced that it was opening a second location on the corner of Bienville and North Peters streets, I chalked it up to divine providence. Ditto for La Divina, whose new Place d'Armes outpost makes the city’s finest gelato fix an any-hour possibility. (Although I will miss scoffing at those poor, misguided souls sitting outside of Sucré, crowing over a costlier and inferior product while subsidizing the sweet boutique’s stainless steel Sub-Zeros and travertine trimmings.) But the news of Iris Restaurant’s impending Bienville House relocation — technically not a franchise, I’m aware, but Carrollton’s loss is still the Quarter’s gain, and on behalf of Sixth Warders from Rampart Street to the river, allow me to say: nanny nanny boo boo — has me considering more scientific conspiracy theories. How else to explain the great Vieux Carré migration of so many favorite eateries? Maybe some physics-minded foodie and St. Philip Street denizen designed a gastro-magnet in his fourth-floor attic? Or could the city actually be folding up on itself, Stephen Hawking-style? Whatever the reason, it seems to be the epicurean equivalent of running up the score — after all, we already lay claim to arguably the best fine-dining (Stella!), diner fare (Clover Grill), patisserie (Croissant d’Or), seafood (GW Fins), African (Bennachin), Italian (Irene's Cuisine), coffeeshop (Café du Monde), steakhouse (Dickie Brennan’s), burger joint (Port of Call) and convenience-store-deli health violations (Verti Marte) in the Croissant City limits. Plus, ever since the Delachaise quietly kicked open the doors of its North Rampart digs in August, we’ve had the market cornered on domestic beer denial and brusque French bartenders, too. Coming soon: $14 tapas supremacy. Your serve, Uptown.  

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