Black-Owned Restaurants in New Orleans

There’s not one city in America; I would say the world but, there’s no place other than New Orleans that dishes up some of the best food. My city is a big ole flavorful pot of gumbo infused by different cultures such as African American, Native American, Caribbean, French, Spaniard, and Italians. But in my eyes Everything began with a group of American Indians who welcomed the French shortly after 1700, American Indians contributed corn and local shellfish, while Spaniards brought larger fish and the first European food preservation and preparation methods. In 1767, Spaniards adding their cuisine, which was influenced by the Moors incursions to Spain during the Crusades.

Spaniards brought Islenos Africans from the Canary Islands who settled in St Bernard District. Other African slaves arrived from the Caribbean, who further developed okra, kale, rice, sugar, and peanut growing methods on nearby plantations. Some became slave cooks or earned their freedom as independent caterers. This activity led to Gumbo and Jambalaya, among others. The French returned to control the land by 1800 before selling it in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase to the United States. If only briefly, the French reasserted their preference for the aristocratic presentation of excellent food and a taste for desserts. Those delightful pralines sure taste like an African cook’s response to a French sweet tooth.

Many free African cooks lived in the backyards of French Quarter homeowners, while slave cooks and independent caterers tended to many Garden District aristocrats of the 1800s and early 1900s. Italians arrived in the 1890s, bringing their gastronomic culture and imported sausage, fruit & vegetables to the mix. The tasty Muffaletta cold-cut sandwich of lettuce, tomato, sausage, and spices is a welcome result.

As the African American presence grew in the 1900s, their influence played a more significant role in Creole cuisine and the emerging hybrid known today as Creole-Soul Food. And today, I’m showcasing some New Orleans Restaurants that are owned by African Americans some from New Orleans and some not. I now wonder if my faves are based on eating from the pot made by a New Orleanian…

Is it New Orleans cuisine if it’s not cooked by a New Orleanian? What if the chef is from New York, but he or she is cooking in a restaurant and following New Orleans recipes?

The things that make you go hmmm.

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  • Café Dauphine (Creole-Soul/Comfort) My Favorite Nola Black-owned Restaurant. I recommend the friend stuffed bell pepper.

Fried Stuffed Bell PepperCrabmeat dressing stuffed shrimp

$10 Lunch Special 11 am – 3 pm: Fried Catfish Nuggets with White Beans and Rice.

Leah Chase, New Orleans’ matriarch of Creole cuisine, who fed civil rights leaders, musicians, and presidents in a career spanning seven decades, passed away last night. She was 96. Rest In Peace, Leah. ❤️ 📷: Leah Chase making gumbo in the kitchen at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, by Mark J. Sindler / Louisiana State Museum. Shrimp and Grits with a side of Bacon.

Taste just like ya Grandmother made it. 😋

  • Joie de Vie
  • Juju Bag Cafe (Cajun & Creole-Soul)

Red beans & rice with pickled meat, fried chicken, spaghetti casserole, and corn from the lunch buffet.

  • M & J Soul Food Restaurant (New Orleans Comfort Food)

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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