New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, jazz, and food. The rich culture in the unique American city is unparalleled. People have a high standard for the traditional foods of the region. As the end of the pandemic comes into focus, a lot of people want to follow their dream of opening a restaurant. During this transition, it is crucial to manage restaurant customer expectations and plan for the future.
If you are thinking about opening up a restaurant in New Orleans, there are cuisines both imported from elsewhere and indigenous to the region. Whether it’s French, Creole, Cajun, or Spanish cuisine, the standard is high because these are the best and most traditional types of food in the city.
New Orleans was founded by the French so it is no surprise that the cuisine is intrinsic to the culture. While it differs from food in France, French cuisine is endemic to the city. The standard is high. If you are thinking about opening a restaurant in New Orleans, French food is a great option but it won’t be easy. While opening a French restaurant that serves everything from classics to regional delicacies can be quite successful, you will be scrutinized for serving the food of France in the Big Easy.
Cajun cuisine is even more scrutinized than French food. When you’re thinking about starting a Cajun restaurant in New Orleans, you better be a lifelong student. If you are not originally from Louisiana it will be tough for you. Not only will your food not be up to par, the patrons will be very critical. They will tear you apart. Even if you want to open a po boy spot the standard is scrupulous. Serving crawfish will be exceedingly criticized if it isn’t up to local expectations. Still there can never be enough good Cajun food in New Orleans. If you have it in your blood, follow your heart.
A combination between Afro-Caribbean, French, and Southern food, Creole cuisine is intrinsic to Louisiana. While everyone knows about gumbo, this is just the beginning. The influences vary from West African to Spanish and French, but Creole food spans continents. Haitian Creole cuisine is popular in the Caribbean and in Miami, but it differs from the style in Louisiana. With New Orleans, you get a great Creole cuisine that is varied and delicious. However, you shouldn’t try to open a Creole restaurant unless it is truly your culture and you understand the cuisine very well.
The French weren’t the only Europeans who settled in New Orleans. After it was colonized by the French, the Spanish had control of the city from 1763 to 1802. This brought a tradition of Spanish cuisine. Here you can find great seafood paella, tapas, and great Spanish wines. While seafood will be hard to pass up when you’re eating in New Orleans, there are other options. From the years of control, the result is some great pan-European food. While some people overlook Spanish food, if you have the chops to open up a Spanish restaurant it could be a big success because it is less scrutinized than the others.
New Orleans has such a rich food history and culture. The standard of food is so high for these fundamental cuisines to the city. You’ll have to really understand them if you are trying to open a restaurant serving these foods, but if you can pull it off you may have the ability to make it a great success. Don’t think opening a restaurant serving these cuisines is shallow. It’s anything but.
The future is uncertain, but the end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be coming into the focus. When the country is more comfortable with eating out, the restaurant scene will explode. The transition will be tough, but if you are looking at making a restaurant your life’s work you can gear up for opening with other businesses. Still, pandemic or not, the standard for traditional cuisines in New Orleans is no joke. Do your homework. It better be in your blood and in your heart, the people of Big Easy will smell a fake from a mile away.