Ain’t no party like a gay block party that spreads across all of New Orleans.
Southern Decadence, one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ events in the Deep South, returns to New Orleans on Labor Day weekend.
The event brings in more tourists than Pride Month in NOLA, and every gay bar has events or special guests planned for the weekend. There are also many themed parties, including the weekend block party at the Phoenix Bar in the New Orleans Marigny.
There will be about 250,000 people visiting the Big Easy over the weekend, Nola.com reported.
And everyone’s gotta eat.
New Orleans is known for being one of the best food cities in the U.S. — and the world. From hidden gems to local favorites to tourist traps you absolutely cannot miss, the dining scene in NOLA is top notch and one that should be explored.
But many restaurants require reservations in the Big Easy. And if you’re a last-minute planner or don’t like to have an itinerary when you travel, fear not.
I travel to New Orleans almost weekly for a nice walk or job — and with a goal to try somewhere new each time. I’ve made a list of some of my favorite spots to try that don’t require a reservation when you need a food break in the Southern Decadence revelry. Hours are subject to change, so check each restaurant’s website or social media pages before you go.
A lot of restaurants in the actual French Quarter don’t require reservations and are geared toward tourists. I wanted to give a few other options in different neighborhoods around the city, or local favorites in the Quarter proper.
Did I miss your favorite spot? Email me and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Townhouse, French Quarter
This French Quarter gay bar and restaurant is a favorite among locals. There’s a beautiful bar in front that always has a rainbow flag or two hanging around. In the back is a kitchen with a top-tier bar food menu. There’s also a patio if sitting outside is your thing, but I prefer being in the air conditioning, enjoying loaded waffle fries with pop music blaring.
Another great thing about American Townhouse is that the restaurant is open until 1 a.m. or later.
American Townhouse is also a favorite of Mattlan Ladner, a social media influencer who runs a popular TikTok food account called BigEatsy.
What to order: Boudin and cream cheese egg rolls, chicken fingers, fish and chips
Address: 1012 North Rampart
Pizza Delicious, Bywater
Locals call it Pizza D and it’s in arguably the coolest area of the Big Easy. Grab a slice or two and sit outside and get ready for some of the best ‘za of your life. If you over indulge, there’s a great walking path across the street and over an arch to walk off the calories. Then we’d suggest going back to Pizza D and getting a pie to-go for when you get back home from the bar.
Pizza Delicious is not open late, so this would be a great choice for lunch. They also deliver!
What to order: garlic knots, Caesar salad (trust me on this), Pizza D supreme
Address: 617 Piety Street
Note: Pizza D is closed on Mondays
Who Dat Coffee Cafe, Marigny
It’s one of my favorite breakfast spots in New Orleans and Who Dat Coffee Cafe has a long history of being inclusive and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community.
Who Dat is open daily until 2 p.m. and until 9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The menu is full of classic Louisiana breakfast, lunch and brunch options with a twist. If you go, do not skip on the Not Yo Mama’s Corn Cakes. They are unlike any other dish you’ll have in the city.
What to order: Not Yo Mama’s Corn Cakes, Da Cajun Scramble, PattiMelt
Address: 2401 Burgundy Street
Katie’s Restaurant & Bar, Mid-City
Creole-Italian fare is their specialty, and the red sauce is top notch. But so are their classic po-boys. The menu at Katie’s is as diverse as the people who eat there, and it’s popular among locals and tourists. If there’s a wait, you should probably wait. Especially if you’re hungry. The garlic feta fries is the best appetizer in New Orleans, and you can’t change my mind.
Katie’s is also known for their barbecue ribs that were featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.
The restaurant does not take reservations for parties less than eight people.
What to order: garlic feta fries, blackberry jalapeno barbecue ribs, crawfish beignet
Address: 3701 Iberville Street
I’m usually the kind of person who is going to pick the meat option, but the veggie tacos at Vals are the star of their menu. The vibe is Instagrammable and the menu is great if you like small plates or trying a lot of things.
What to order: sweet potato taco, elote, roasted corn and mushroom taco
Address: 4632 Freret Sreet
Dat Dog, French Quarter and Uptown
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you’ve heard of Dat Dog. And this is the perfect chill spot to fill up your belly after a wild night out in the French Quarter. I prefer the French Quarter location, but it is a bit more touristy than the two Uptown spots. You can’t go wrong at either spot. Dat Dog also has vegan options.
What to order: Irish Channel Dog, Crawfish Special
Address: Uptown — 5030 Freret Street or 3336 Magazine Street; French Quarter — 601 Frenchmen Street
Parkway Bakery & Tavern, in between Tremé and Mid-City
Everyone has a lot of opinions about po-boys and where to get them. This is my favorite place in New Orleans for a po-boy. If it’s not yours, let’s agree to disagree. But the “poor boys” at Parkway are great, parking is usually relatively easy and you can wash it down with a glass bottle of Barq’s Root Beer.
What to order: Roast beef with gravy, the James Brown, hot ham and cheese
Address: 538 Hagan Avenue
Lil Dizzy’s, Tremé
This Black-owned café on Esplanade is only open for lunch but you cannot beat their creole cuisine or soul food. I dream about their two-piece fried chicken and always get the mac and cheese.
What to order: seafood gumbo, two-piece fried chicken with a side, dirty rice
Address: 1550 Esplanade Avenue
Molly’s Rise and Shine, 11th Ward
It’s a local favorite and is always featured on foodie TikTok videos — and for good reason. If you want a good, filling breakfast, this restaurant is where you should park your butt for a while.
What to order: fried chicken biscuit, biscuit and gravy, carrot yogurt
Address: 2368 Magazine Street
Other restaurants to try in New Orleans
Bearcat, CBD and Uptown
Dian Xin, French Quarter
Sun Chong, French Quarter (takes reservations, but easy to get into on Mondays)
Flour Moon Bagels, Bayou St. John