Mardi Gras has officially returned to New Orleans after a two-year hiatus, one year after the cancellation of parades and events in 2021 (for the first time in 42 years) and two years since the 2020 festivities which are widely considered to have been Louisiana’s first super spreader event — two years of loss for the city, its culture and its integral hotel industry.
The return of Carnival has already brought big business to many downtown bars and restaurants, although shortened parade routes dulled the excitement for some spots cut from the action. Over the next week and a half, hundreds of thousands of visitors will infiltrate the city, and bars and restaurants are looking to take over this activity.
Of course, the not-so-secret truth of Mardi Gras is that most meals and drinks don’t revolve around bars or restaurants at all, but in homes and along parade routes, consumed on the go and during of socializing – snatched from party tables or purchased from the indispensable vendors lining Claiborne Avenue. But beyond the must-visit King Cake bakeries and pop-ups, there are still plenty of bars, restaurants, and events that offer the chance to get even more festive while celebrating Mardi Gras with food and drink.
Below we’ve rounded up a number of ways to experience the bars, restaurants, bakeries and events during Mardi Gras. Remember that bars and restaurants are subject to New Orleans’ indoor mask mandate via Mardi Gras, as well as city policy requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to dine or drink. inside, so get ready.
Did we miss a Mardi Gras celebration related to food or drink? Let us know.
Kings Cake Connection
In the final weeks of Mardi Gras, there’s a new royal cake hub in town – King Cake Connection, bringing together royal cakes and other Mardi Gras-themed treats from ten black-owned bakeries across New -Orléans, such as Adrian’s, Talented Toya’s and Viola’s Heritage Pains. He comes out of Seven Three Distilling Co. at 301 N. Claiborne Avenue until Mardi Gras, Wednesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Whiskey parade route party at SoFab
New Orleans Southern Food and Beverage Museumlocated in Central City, celebrates Carnival with a party on the Whiskey Parade route Saturday February 19 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to whiskey tastings and the education of Redemption Whiskey., there is also a lunch of red beans and rice, fried catfish, chicken and sausage gumbo and vegan okra with z’herbes; wine organized by the patron saint and the king’s cake by the slice. Tickets are $20 per person. Bonus: All ticket buyers are entered into a raffle for a Bayou St. Cake King Cake by Chef Bronwen Wyatt.
Launch of Mister Mao guest chef series with Good Trouble Network
There are still reservations available to kick off Mister Mao’s guest chef series with the Good Trouble Network, a coalition of hospitality workers that raises money for nonprofit human rights organizations like the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, from which the series will benefit. At Sunday February 20, guests will be able to enjoy four dishes prepared by local chefs Nick Martin Dr. Smoke’s Kitchen); Octavio Ycaza (Culinary Croissant); and Christina Quackenbush (Milkfish). Priced at $65 per person, cocktails included.
Gnarley Gras at Gnarley Barley
At Sunday February 20Gnarley Barley Brewing brings back Gnarley Gras, the annual party with live music, new beers, royal cakes, burgers and BBQ.
Brunch Barkus at Palm & Pine
At February 20, aka Barkus Sunday, Palm & Pine is hosting a dog-friendly brunch to celebrate the iconic French Quarter Parade, serving special dog treats, bright brunch specialties and drinks to go. This fun spot on the outskirts of the French Quarter is likely to become an annual Mardi Gras hub due to its location – close to, but not stuck in the middle of, the action.
Pig Butcher Mardi Gras Parade Package
For the kind of parade meal that most New Orleans residents are used to without the work, turn to the ever-reliable Pig Butcher, which this year offers Mardi Gras parade packages to feed ten people. 20 pieces of fried chicken, half a casserole of jambalaya, ten sandwiches of turkey, ham or chilli cheese and ten bags of Zapp potato chips are provided cold but can be reheated. The ready-to-go meal can be ordered in advance in line for $220. 48 hours before pickup.
Saffron Take and Bake Menu
Offering a deliciously different option for Mardi Gras this year, Saffron, Magazine Street’s foodie destination for modern Indian cuisine. Red bean curry, okra curry, biriyani, meat pies and more are available in two sizes: quart, for 3-4 people, and half pans, for 6-8 people . Order before Tuesday February 22 before noon by email [email protected] for pick-up on Wednesday February 23 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Safran closes from Thursday February 24 to March 1 due to difficult access during Mardi Gras, make takeout menu and bake a great way to support.
Culinary Queens of New Orleans Parade debuts
This exciting new Mardi Gras Krewe, which is called TCQNO for short, was started by Akasia Lee-Nicholas during the pandemic to bring together a network of women in the food and beverage industry, some laid off or otherwise impacted by COVID. The Krewe has a stated goal of supporting women-owned businesses; and for their very first fashion show, the Tuesday, February 22 at 6 p.m.., signature throws include plastic wine glasses, glitter spatulas and chef’s hats.
Gianna Carnevale 2022
The Warehouse District’s trendy Italian restaurant, Gianna, serves one of this year’s most interesting themed meals – four courses of family specialties traditionally served during Carnival in Italy. The special Mardi Gras lunch on Friday February 25, starts with Venetian street food of fried stuffed olives; Next comes a traditional dish from the Carnival of Ivrea, the Fagioli Grassi, which translates to a fatty bean; this is followed by Neapolitan lasagna; and the final dish is an Italian carnival favourite, a zeppole or Italian donut. To see here to make reservations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $65 per person.
Parade of the Krewe of Iris
Durable and useful throws have become increasingly common, and will likely become even more so over the years as new alternatives become available. Krewe of Iris is ahead of the curve, having moved away from plastic items and beads a few years ago. This year, the krewe has worked with a local company, Grounds Krewe, for a set of throws available to runners that includes a mix of jambalaya, red beans and coffee. Catch Iris Uptown’s food-themed throws Saturday February 26.
Bouncing Brunch with Otto at the Commons Club
The Shrove Monday celebrations kick off with brunch at the Commons Club, the restaurant run by Alex Harrell at the new Virgin Hotels New Orleans. The DJ Otto-lead bounce brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. monday 28 february. The whole hotel should be in party mode for the weekend before Mardi Gras, from the iced Irish coffee at the lobby bar; on the roof of the Pool Club; and a special Friday happy hour at the bar. Reserve a seat at the restaurant, bar or pool here.