You might have a hard time wrapping your mouth around Atchafalaya’s name, but rest assured you won’t run into the same problem when it comes to the food. At least when it comes to brunch, as I found out on a recent trip to New Orleans. Just a quick ride from the Canal at Carondelet streetcar stop near the French Quarter (get off at St. Charles at Louisiana), this little café is a short walk past Magazine Street.
The area, should you not be aware, is considered Uptown NOLA. Home to adorable shops, restaurants and attractions like the WWII Museum and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, it’s worth the quick and easy trip from the downtown area—plus you need to find a good reason to ride one of those famous streetcars, don’t you?
If you head up to Atchafalaya (which by the way is also the name of a nearby river that shoots off from the Mississippi), you will find a pretty fabulous Bloody Mary bar every day but Tuesday and Wednesday. Patrons simply order their preferred vodka and then head over to choose from three different options on tap (plain tomato juice, house Bloody mix and a verde variety as well). Of course hot sauces are on hand for those that like it fiery and you can choose from a whole variety of “toppings,” from bacon bits and green beans to carrots and pickled okra.
A charming location, Atchafalaya sits inside of what at one time was a home that was built in the late 1800s. Fare here is of the Creole or cajun variety and you’ll find fun options that scream New Orleans like fried green tomatoes and cream cheese grits—both of which made these patrons very happy. I personally chose the Eggs Atchafalaya (which normally come as poached, over jumbo lump crab, fried green tomatoes and hollandaise) and substituted alligator sausage. Because if you happen to be dining in Louisiana at a cajun restaurant, and alligator sausage is on the menu, you really have to try it.
The cherry on top of the whole dining experience was probably the live music. Picture this: you are in New Orleans, drinking fabulous Bloody Marys, feasting on fried green tomatoes, grits and alligator sausage in a 19th-century home while listening to live jazz. That’s kind of a perfect NOLA experience, right? Yeah, you should probably just make ressies now. (Actually you really should, especially if you plan on going during the weekend).
Other menu options include things like popcorn crawfish, jalapeño corn bread (yum), duck confit, creole hollandaise and, of course, gumbo. Dinner dishes run the gamut from crispy fried chicken livers to shrimp and grits. Naturally there are also more typical offerings like New York strip veggie risotto. Atchafalaya serves brunch until 2:30 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Wednesday, and dinner until 10 p.m. nightly.