Red Beans On The Route
Sometimes You’ve Got to Get Your Beans on the Go
Flavorful, inexpensive, and filling, the combination of red beans and rice is an iconic part of Mardi Gras celebrations. Everyone makes them little differently, but no one disputes that homemade is the way to go. If that familiar craving hits while you’re out catching beads, and your mom’s kitchen isn’t on a parade route, here are a few suggestions to tide you over.
Located in Mid City, this true-blue New Orleans neighborhood restaurant only serves red beans and rice on Mondays. Long a local’s favorite dish, the beans here are cooked until they’re soft swimming in their own delicious ‘gravy’ – within which floats a large timbale of long grain rice. Enjoy your beans with smoked sausage, a breaded and fried veal cutlet, or with a pork chop. Any way you have ’em, you’ll get a basket of sliced French bread and butter for the table. Mandina’s, 3800 Canal Street., 492-9179, mandinasrestaurant.com. Mandina’s is on the Endymion parade route.
Joey K’s Restaurant
For decades one of Uptown New Orleans’ most popular casual eateries, Joey K’s gained a national following after Guy Fieri featured the neighborhood joint on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives.” Large oval platters of red beans and rice served with grilled smoked sausage are available every day, and they’re particularly fine when paired with the restaurant’s exceptional cornbread that comes to the table gratis. Joey K’s, 3100 Magazine St., 891-0997, joeyksrestaurant.com. Joey K’s is just off of the St. Charles Avenue parade route, where you can catch parades like Muses, Iris, Tucks, Thoth, and Bacchus.
Popeye’s Fried Chicken
Warren LeRuth, the late, great restaurateur, chef, and oft-time culinary chemist, was brought in by Popeye’s founder Al Copeland, Sr., in the 1970s to create the chain’s justifiably famous red beans and rice, the recipe for which is top secret. Cooked until they are a creamy mass with very little texture, the thick, vaguely smoky beans are the standard bearers for many. Served in Styrofoam to-go containers, Popeye’s red beans are particularly satisfying when enjoyed curbside on a parade route. The two locations on the St. Charles Ave./Canal St. parade route include 1243 St. Charles Ave. and 621 Canal St.
Regulars at Mother’s Restaurant go straight to the always-in-motion serving/deli line to get their favorite dish – which is often the signature red beans and rice, made with a secret ingredient. Since Mother’s cooks its own ham at the restaurant, there’s a lot of leftover ham fat as a result of trimming. Says Chef Roland Swazy, “It’s the fat that makes the red beans taste good.” Of course, Mother’s also uses Camellia Red Kidney Beans. Mother’s Restaurant is located at 401 Poydras Street, (504) 523-9656, mothersrestaurant.net and is just a few blocks off of the St. Charles Avenue parade route.
Blue Oak BBQ
Although primarily a barbecue restaurant, Blue Oak BBQ founder Ronnie Evans claims that red beans and rice is “…probably my favorite dish on the planet!” Blue Oak’s RB&R come with a barbecue flair, served with brisket and ribs instead of the traditional sausage link. Keep them in mind if you’re hunting for some good red beans while out for Lundi Gras; the red beans and rice combo is a special, only available on Mondays. Blue Oak BBQ is located just one block away from the Endymion Parade route, on 900 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 822-2583, blueoakbbq.com.
Open since 1946, it’s safe to say that Please-U-Restaurant located on St. Charles has experience when it comes to cooking red beans. The traditional diner has an intimate, friendly vibe and serves just about every New Orleans staple that you can think of, but of course we recommend that you check out the red beans and rice. Please-U-Restaurant is located on the St. Charles Avenue parade route, at 1751 St. Charles Ave., (504) 525-9131, pleaseunola.com.
Acme’s Oyster House
Want to really get into the New Orleans spirit during your Mardi Gras celebrations? Why not stop into the world-famous Acme’s Oyster House and eat some of their delectable red beans? Try out Acme’s whether you’re celebrating Mardi Gras in the heart of the city or in the ‘burbs; there’s a location in both the French Quarter and in Metairie. Acme’s Oyster House at 724 Iberville St is just off of the St. Charles Avenue parade route and directly on the route for any French Quarter parade, such as the Krewe de Vieux. The one in Metairie at 3000 Veterans Blvd is on the route for the Krewe of Exclaibur, (504) 522-5973, acmeoyster.com.