Tuesday, March 6, 2012

From bank to brunch

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 5:40 PM

The three little pigs omelet at the Ruby Slipper.
  • Ian McNulty
  • The three little pigs omelet at the Ruby Slipper.

The number of places to get late-night food around the Faubourg Marigny has been growing lately, though now a new breakfast option is on the way too.

Owners of the Ruby Slipper Café have bought the historic former bank branch at 2001 Burgundy Street in the Marigny triangle area, and they plan to open the third rendition of their breakfast-lunch-and-brunch concept there by the summer.

Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt opened their first Ruby Slipper on a Mid-City side street in 2008, converting what had been a rundown corner store before Hurricane Katrina into a neighborhood hot spot. In late 2010 they opened a second, and much-larger, Ruby Slipper, this time on Magazine Street in the Central Business District, which draws in a large crowd of hotel guests and downtown office workers.

Erich Weishaupt says the third Ruby Slipper will follow the same script, with a similar menu of diner-style breakfast and lunch dishes punched up with local seafood, fresh produce and some creative specials.

“We’ll probably add a separate dining room here because we get so many requests for bridal showers and private events of that type that we don’t really have the space to handle in our other places,” he says.

Weishaupt says renovations to the building will begin soon, though he won’t have to make too many changes thanks to earlier work done on the property.

The building was originally erected in the 1920s as a branch of the Canal Commercial Trust and Savings Bank, a company formed in 1831 to finance construction of the New Basin Canal, one of the city’s long-since-filled waterways. It was later used as a doctor’s office, the local baker’s union hall and as an events venue. In 2004, entrepreneur Alex Kelly turned it into his Bank Café, an upscale contemporary Creole restaurant. Daniel Esses, now co-owner of Three Muses, was chef at that restaurant, which closed in 2006. The building has been empty since.

The Bank Café renovation left the building with a vintage Art Deco bar, a large, modern kitchen and a wide-open dining room under a soaring ceiling. Weishaupt says he may add some features to play up its history as a bank, like a wall of old-fashioned teller’s windows to split up the dining areas.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe
139 S. Cortez St., 309-5531; 200 Magazine St., 525-9355

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