Loyal fans love the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for its accessibility and location in the heart of the city that loves to party. Fans from out of town that fill the arena on home game days generate tens of thousands of dollars in food and beverage revenue for the city, a welcome spike in business for the local restaurants close to the action. Depending on what you're hungry for, you can keep it casual and chow on thin-crust pizza and Italian specialties, or pull out the stops and dine at one of New Orleans' hallmarks of refined Creole cuisine.
For vendor fare, fans congregate in Champion's Square, the festival, music and event venue adjacent to the Dome. You'll find mobile eateries serving the happy crowds, a few with bricks and mortar restaurants about town including Praline Connection for red beans and rice and other Southern fare and Drago's, known for seafood specialties. Wings, pulled pork barbecue and hot dogs are also available. For something a little more sedate, restaurants along Poydras and heading back towards the Quarter beckon. And unlike many cities, where hotel restaurants tend to be generic, two nearby hotels, the Hyatt Regency and the Loews, showcase the talents of chef John Besh and the esteemed Commander's Palace branch of the Brennan family.
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar is located on Poydras Street just four blocks from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, making it a preeminent spot for pre- and post-game food and drinks. Walk-On's has televisions nearly everywhere, including outside on their 2nd floor terraced balcony. The eats go beyond what you might expect for a sports bar, with a nice array of regional specialties, including gumbo, seafood po-boys, fried catfish and andouille-filled quesadillas.
The bar area is a great place to be to watch your favorite team in action. Grab a pitcher of ice cold beer and start the party at this engaging locals' haunt. ((504) 309-6530)
Located in the swanky Roosevelt Hotel on Canal Street, on the edge of the French Quarter and the CBD, Domenica dazzles with chef, co-owner Alon Shaya's regional Italian cuisine and what may be the best thin crust pizza in town. Try a pie topped with pork shoulder fennel bacon and sweet onions or a dish of squid Ink tagliolini with crab, rich with seafood goodness. Shaya gets ingredients from partner John Besh's farm, so the emphasis is on seasonal freshness. Happy hour seven days a week from 3-6 pm is a great deal, with the gourmet pies and drinks half off. (504-648-6020)
Reginelli's is a popular pizza joint with a few spots around town including one within and easy stroll of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The menu dishes more than just pies, with specialty salads, pastas, sandwiches and calzones among the popular specialties. A staple college favorite for years, Reginelli's has graduated to a reputation for outstanding food at great prices. Beer drinkers will appreciate the great selection of beer on tap, including locally brewed Abita. Midweek pitcher specials can have you and your pals drinking on sofa change. All of the locations are super casual, and if you don't feel like eating out after the game, grab to go or have them deliver. (504-895-7272)
Fulton Alley in the New Orleans CBD is a fun locally owned destination for bowling, contemporary Southern comfort food and curated craft cocktails. The setting is sleek and urbane, with local art adding eye-popping appeal. Executive chef Mike Nirenberg is behind the contemporary Southern-influenced menu, delivering the likes of pimento cheese on toasted brioche, crispy chicken sliders and raisin bread pudding beignets right to your lane. Cocktails from the team behind Cure bring a hip night of bowling into perfect focus. The bowling lounge recently expanded to include an array of fun games, from darts and foozball to a full on bocce court and oversized chess on the patio. A creative event staff will customize a party package for your group, including everything and anything from bowling and shoes to tasty nibbles and cocktails from the premium bar. ((504) 208-5569)
The Little Gem Saloon
The Little Gem Saloon is located in a historic building on the 400 block of South Rampart Street, a place jazz historians have long considered the likely birthplace of jazz. First opened in 1903, the Little Gem Saloon served as a popular watering hole for early jazz legends like Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton. The space was remodeled in late 2012 and opened again as Little Gem Saloon; a place where you can listen to live music five days a week while munching on Southern soul food infused with Louisiana seafood. Try shrimp and grits, fried chicken or succulent barbecue ribs. The joint is an easy walk from both major sports/event venues, and is right off the Loyola streetcar line. ((504) 267-4863)
If you're looking to relax and be treated like a VIP, the Palace Cafe is the ticket. Situated on Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter, this restaurant boasts a Brennan pedigree and chef Brandon Muetzal's creative vision in the kitchen. Housed in the historic Werlein's music building, the two-level restaurant is filled with local art including a stunning upstairs mural in the dining room overlooking Canal Street. Enjoy an upbeat, friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere as you sample favorites like oysters pan roast, crawfish mac & cheese or the Andouille crusted local fish. A terrific list of craft cocktails will ensure that you're in a celebratory mood. (504-523-1661)
Bourbon House Seafood & Oyster Bar
The Bourbon House is an authentic New Orleans seafood restaurant, with its dining room windows looking out onto the riotous Bourbon Street. Inside, calm indulgence presides, in a setting that is pure New Orleans, from its lacy, wrought-iron balcony seating to its large French windows overlooking the famous street below. The menu, a veritable catalog of Creole specialties, includes oysters Bienville, catfish pecan and a killer fried seafood platter. The bar boasts more than 90 American whiskeys, one reason why the restaurant is home to the New Orleans Bourbon Society. The expert wait staff is attentive and caring, able to guide you through the various oyster options and small batch/single barrel bourbon choices. (504-522-0111)
Located in the fab Loews Hotel, the Brennan family-run Café Adelaide is named for colorful Ti Adelaide Martin, co-owner of big sister restaurant Commander's Palace. You'll be happy starting with the bacon and cornmeal crusted fried oysters, and the shrimp and tasso corndog with five pepper jelly is like nothing you'll ever taste at a country fair. The menu is served at the Swizzle Stick bar next to the restaurant, a tasteful homage to Adelaide Brennan, also known as "Queenie" and "Auntie Mame," who did her share of living the good life. The restaurant recently adopted an All American approach to its wine list, with some 200 selections derived from North, South, and Central America. (504-595-3305)
Eat - Drink - Cheer is the perfect description of Manning's, the upbeat sports bar and restaurant located in the lively Fulton Street corridor. This is one of the best places to cheer for the home team in New Orleans, a partnership between the casino and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, who spent 12 years playing at the Superdome. The restaurant is heaven for any fan of the Manning family, with all kinds of memorabilia from Archie Manning's playing career, and that of his sons, Peyton and Eli. The sports theme at the 210 seat restaurant is driven home by 30 flat screens always tuned to one game or another. There's even a giant screen in a section called the End Zone. As for the menu, it's an intersection between Mississippi delta and Creole, with specialties like shrimp and grits and local red fish. ((504) 593-8118)
For a pre-game bite or celebratory cocktail, head to Borgne, one of local celebrity chef John Besh's much touted restaurants. Situated on the ground floor of the newly renovated Hyatt on Loyala Avenue, Borgne is great choice for locally sourced Louisian seafood and coastal cuisine. Both Besh and executive chef Brian Landry grew up fishing on Lake Borgne, an eastern Louisiana Gulf-fed body of water teeming with fish. Borgne's menu celebrates coastal Louisiana with a touch of Isleño influence, a throwback to the immigrants from Malaga and the Canaries that settled in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Try the grilled Canary Island goat cheese with mjo verde sauce oyster spaghetti and seafood stuffed flounder. ((504) 613-3860)
About Beth D'Addono
Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.
After spending years flying in regularly to research stories, attend festivals and eat the city's amazing cuisine, this New Orleanian at heart moved to the Crescent City full time in 2012.
Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets including USAToday, AAA Traveler, Wells Fargo Conversations, Philadelphia Daily News, Taste, Fodor's and others.
Her new book The Hunt New Orleans is a carefully curated insider's guide to indie shops and restaurants around town.
Read more about Beth D'Addono here.
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