By Jeff Thomas
New Orleans is a food town. Part of the draw are the great restaurants where you can grab a delicious and memorable meal. And forever African Americans have been cooking in some of the most well-known restaurants. But there are less than 50 sit down and get a great meal restaurants owned and operated by African Americans. Below are the top 5 (actually 6 restaurants cause there is a tie).
- Dooky Chase This legendary restaurant has served the famous like Martin Luther King, Jr and Barack Obama and everyday folks who want some delicious Creole New Orleans cooking. From the priceless art on the walls to the white table cloths with beautiful chairs, this restaurant is a “you gotta go” choice. From the best fried chicken in New Orleans to the hot and scrumptious peach cobbler, you should go for lunch. Then you can sample the best buffet in America.
- Neyows. This restaurant became so popular that they bought the building next door, tore it down and built their own restaurant. They serve the best hot sausage in town and paired with a huge serving of white beans and rice, you will be completely satisfied when you push away from the table. Also, their charbroiled oysters come hot and savory with a sauce that is creamy and seasoned. The outside bar is fun and lively when the weather permits.
- Morrows. This new, hip and chic spot is a cool hangout in a cool neighborhood with plenty of bars and other venues nearby. Always crowded, prepare to wait for food that is more complementary to the atmosphere than it is a draw. Did that sound like the food is not good? The food is great but the vibe is better. One of the best grilled redfish plates in town. For the young and sexy.
- Barrow’s Catfish. There was a time before Katrina, that you could drive up to the restaurant at any time of the day, walk in and within 5 minutes get a piping hot plate of fresh fried catfish. Cause that’s all they sold. But that restaurant was closed and took nearly 15 years for the children to open in a new beautiful location. The wait is a little longer now, but the catfish is still the best in town. The French fries are unique, thin and a cross between a French fry and a potato chip. The clean new location serves other dishes that are also freshly fried.
- Tie Munch Factory and Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Before winning a James Beard Award and later being named the best fried chicken restaurant in America, Willie Mae’s was just another corner restaurant cranking out delicious food for us fortunate New Orleanians who were aware of it. Now the wait is an hour and the best smothered veal in brown gravy is just an afterthought. Worth the wait, the fried chicken is unusually lightly battered and crispy. Meanwhile, the Munch factory moved a successful restaurant from a lakefront neighborhood to the hot uptown Magazine St. area to attract bigger crowds. The food is still great with a great gumbo and the oysters Gentilly worth the trek uptown or to the new location at the clubhouse on the golf course in Pontchartrain Park.