City Diner (3116 S. I-10 Service Road, Metairie, 831-1030) may be housed in the former location of a Denny's franchise, but its menu leaves no doubt it is a Louisiana original. Hash browns with crawfish and andouille, shrimp etouffee and boudin balls alternate with pancakes, burgers and chicken sandwiches on a lengthy, inexpensive menu. It's open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Some restaurants stay open late, but Big Shirley's (1434 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-5858) opens late. The relocated cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily, and during Carnival season it opens on weekends at 2 a.m. to serve folks getting out of area clubs or leaving Mardi Gras balls. The same owners ran Big Shirley's in the Tremé neighborhood before Hurricane Katrina and reopened the business in the Riverbend.