Opening a restaurant in a pandemic? These new NOLA spots have done it.

Opening a restaurant is already hard. Opening a restaurant during a pandemic? Well, that might be almost impossible. But these New Orleans chefs have done it.

by Chelsea Brasted
August 10, 2020

Opening a restaurant is already hard. Opening a restaurant during a pandemic? Well, that might be almost impossible.

But these New Orleans chefs have done it, and though just about nothing during 2020 has turned out the way any of us expected, that the folks inside the city’s kitchens are still doing everything they can to serve up creative and inspired meals shouldn’t surprise anyone.

From the expansion of a Thai favorite to the newly-born idea for a southern bakery, these chefs show that there’s still plenty to get excited about in New Orleans’ restaurant scene, pandemic be damned.

As we’ve all come to expect, things change daily during the pandemic, so call ahead or check updates on social media before finalizing your plans. Otherwise, read on for a taste of what’s new in New Orleans.

Cho Thai


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On the menu: Many in New Orleans know Jimmy Cho’s Thai cuisine thanks to Gretna favorite Banana Blossom, but now, thanks to a partnership with BRG, Cho takes his efforts Uptown with this new expansion. Expect to find bright, spicy flavors in dishes like the Manila clams, which are served in a chili basil broth, and Cho’s fried chicken. Local influences also appear in signature items like the Louisiana crab fried rice and a green curry soft shell crab.
Where to find it: 3218 Magazine St., and on their website

Cho Thai
Getting there
3218 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Mon 3–9pm
Tue-Wed Closed
Thu-Sun 3–9pm
More Info



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On the menu: The CureCo team takes on tacos with Val’s in a super hip gas station turned restaurant. The straightforward menu offers — you guessed it — tacos and “not tacos,” aka ceviche, elotes, chips and other snacks. Folded into the tacos, you’ll get options like fried fish, beef belly and green mole chicken. The drinks menu is likewise trim: Margaritas, a michelada and a few beer options.
Where to find it: 4632 Freret St., and on their website

Getting there
4632 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Mon-Thu 11am–10pm
Fri-Sat 11am–11pm
Sun 11am–10pm
More Info

Yo Nashi


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On the menu: Just before the pandemic shut the city down in March, New Orleans welcomed what was considered its first Omakase restaurant: Nagomi. Though it appears it’ll stay shuttered for now, it just took a few months for Nagomi to no longer be the only Omakase game in town, thanks to Yo Nashi. As the Japanese style suggests, Yo Nashi offers price fixe menus influenced by local flavors and comprised of whatever chef Mackenzie Broquet dreams up every night.

Where to find it: 419 Carondelet St., and on their website 

Yo nashi
Getting there
419 Carondelet St Suite 101, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Mon 5–10pm
Tue-Wed Closed
Thu-Sun 5–10pm
More Info

The Anchor 


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On the menu: Taking over the first floor of a big Madisonville development, The Anchor offers a casual landing spot if you’re hanging along the Tchefuncte River. As in, you can literally pull your boat right up to the restaurant thanks to the collection of slips. Once seated, either inside or on the expansive patio, you can nosh on the po-boys, fish plates and smoked short ribs. 

Where to find it: 407 Saint Tammany St., Madisonville, and on their website

407 St Tammany St
Getting there
407 St Tammany St, Madisonville, LA 70447, USA



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On the menu: The Thali Llama team has finally put down roots, opening up Plume in Algiers Point with a pandemic-friendly walk-up window for ordering. The menu changes regularly, but you can usually expect to find stuffed naan and kothu roti bowls. A recent version offered chow mein with charred green beans, a mango salad and charred head-on shrimp with black mustard and coconut.
Where to find it: 1113 Teche St., and see their Instagram for the latest

Plume Algiers
Getting there
1113 Teche St, New Orleans, LA 70114, USA
Mon 11am–3pm
Tue-Wed Closed
Thu 11am–3pm
Fri-Sun 11am–3pm, 5:30–9pm
More Info

Viola’s Heritage Breads


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On the menu: Kathryn Conyers and pastry chef Carla Briggs dreamed up their business after seeing the run on store shelves at the beginning of the pandemic, and they quickly turned it into a reality, using southern-inspired recipes. Offerings include sandwich loaves, tea cakes, rolls and cornbread.
Where to find it: Order online for pick-up at the Thalia Market, shipped packages or Sunday delivery through their website.

1425 Constance St
Getting there
1425 Constance St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA



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On the menu: Once a line cook turned sous chef at Commander’s Palace, chef Serigne Mbaye left the city to hone his skills at Atelier Crenn and L’Atelier Joel Robuchon. But now he’s back, and Mbaye is cooking up dishes to celebrate his own Senagalese heritage. With a pop-up just once a week, you’ll want to order ahead to get a bite of his poached redfish, fried plantains and sweet treats like a coconut dacquoise. 

Where to find it: Order ahead through the website for Saturday pick-up at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. 

Southern Food and Beverage Museum & Museum of the American Cocktail
Getting there
1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113, USA
Mon 11am–5pm
Tue-Wed Closed
Thu-Sun 11am–5pm
More Info

Chelsea Brasted is a New Orleans-born journalist and a West Banker by choice. She most recently served as The Times-Picayune's city columnist. You can follow Chelsea's work on Twitter and Facebook, and you can contact her through her website,

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