Cajun/Creole cuisine and more: What's trending on New Orleans' food scene?

Cajun/Creole cuisine and more: What's trending on New Orleans' food scene?
Mambo's. | Photo: Chad S./Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on January 09, 2020.

Unsure where New Orleans's insiders are eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to deduce which local businesses have been in the spotlight this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at New Orleans businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots are getting plenty of attention, right now.


Photo: Mambo's/Yelp

Open since June 2019, this well-established Cajun/Creole spot, which offers seafood, soul food and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Seafood" on Yelp.

Citywide, seafood spots saw a median 1.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Mambo's saw a 26% increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Mambo's's review count increased by more than 210%.

It's not the only trending outlier in the seafood category: Mr Ed's Oyster Bar & Fish House - Iberville has seen a 10.7% increase in reviews.

Located at 411 Bourbon St. in the French Quarter, Mambo's offers Louisiana crab cakes and alligator kickers on the appetizer menu. Oyster Rockefeller and blackened ribeye can also be found among the menu items.

Mambo's is open from 11 a.m.–1 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

True Food Kitchen

Photo: True Food Kitchen/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Central Business District's True Food Kitchen, a franchise of the well-known chain, the New American, vegan and vegetarian spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, True Food Kitchen bagged a 24.5% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a superior 4.5-star rating.

Here's more about the business, from its history section on Yelp: "Founded in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008, True Food Kitchen is a restaurant and lifestyle brand inspired by the philosophy that food should make you feel better, not worse, and that great tasting food and thoughtfully crafted beverages can serve as the foundation for a life well lived. True Food Kitchen emphasizes wholesome, simple ingredients with simple preparations to highlight the natural health benefits and flavors of each ingredient. True Food Kitchen has 28+ locations in 12 states: including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, with plans for additional locations throughout the U.S. in the coming year."

Open at 801 St. Charles Ave. since September 2019, True Food Kitchen offers roasted Brussels sprouts and charred cauliflower to start. Then try the Unbeetable burger and Thai coconut sea bass on the menu.

True Food Kitchen is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.

Bar Marilou

Photo: Lynn W./Yelp

Central Business District's Bar Marilou is also making waves. Open since May 2019 at 544 Carondelet St., the cocktail bar and French spot, which offers gelato and more, has seen a 29.7% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.3% for all businesses tagged "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Bar Marilou's review count increased by more than 220%.

Bar Marilou offers such menu items as St. Jacques seared scallops and Newsome's country ham. Over the past month, it's maintained a healthy 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.

Bar Marilou is open from 4 p.m.–midnight on Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.–2 a.m. on Thursday, 2 p.m.–2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m.–midnight on Sunday.

Streetcar Cafe

Photo: Streetcar CAfe/Yelp

Central Business District's Streetcar Cafe is the city's buzziest Cajun/Creole spot by the numbers.

The breakfast and brunch and Cajun/Creole spot, which offers coffee and tea and more and opened at 312 St. Charles Ave. since March 2019, increased its new review count by 14.7% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.5% for the Yelp category "Cajun/Creole." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.2 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

What does this business focus on? "Craft coffee, Cajun breakfast, cocktails, lunch and dinner. Open 7 days a week, conveniently located on St. Charles Ave." — that's according to its Yelp page.

It's not the only trending outlier in the Cajun/Creole category: Gabrielle Restaurant has seen a 4.9% increase in reviews, and Jack Rose has seen an 8.6% bump.

Streetcar Cafe offers catfish po'boys, jambalaya and gumbo among the menu items. Also try the made-from-scratch beignets

Streetcar Cafe is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

Photo:Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken/Yelp

Lower Garden District's popular Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, a member of the well-known chain, is currently on the upswing in the Southern category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as "Southern" on Yelp saw a median 1.7% increase in new reviews over the past month, this chicken shop and Southern spot, which offers comfort food and more, increased its new reviews by 13.4% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars.

There's more abuzz in the world of New Orleans Southern: Tackle Box has seen a 11.1% increase in reviews.

Open for business at 308 S. Diamond St. since July 2019, Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken offers fried green tomatoes and fried okra, along with the fried chicken. Also try the macaroni and cheese as a side.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.