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Carre Camelli-an

Diner Dials Down Winning Latenight Formula

An Uptown landmark of late-night dining opens its downtown counterpart in the French Quarter today. And this time, there will be booze.


The new branch of Camellia Grill, located at 538 Chartres St., seats 38. That's nine more stools than its Riverbend counterpart, which is famous for midnight meals, hangover recovery, and, of course, brunch. It might seem like a small change, but that only indicates how closely the owners plan to reinterpret the original Carrollton Ave. latenight beacon.


True diners in the old-school mode like Camellia Grill cut a wide swath of customers. As it turns out, locals, tourists, students and families all love shakes and burgers -- just like they did in the 50s.


Camellia is a far cry from that dive next to the bar, or that bar that happens to serve breakfast. Clover Grill carries its HBO recommendation, and Deja Vu makes you feel like you've never left the bar, but Camellia carries its own reputation entirely.


Purists will be pleased to know that the new restaurant is designed to look and feel like the original. No flashy treatments are planned for the tourists, said General Manager Ronald Jaeger.


The menu will remain the same. Heaping omelettes, thick shakes and simple-yet-awesome fries remain the staples of a menu that doesn't call for much exploration. The two locations will also split the experienced staff between them, so longtime patrons can still fist-bump and greet familiar faces with the traditional “Word!”


To maintain expensive French Quarter operating costs, a few menu items will cost an extra 10-to-15 cents more.


“Not a difference that people will be shocked by,”  Jaeger said this week of the cost. “The prices remain very reasonable.”


To warm the hearts of any Scrooges, half the profit from this first weekend of business will go to charity.


One change that is expected to go over well is the introduction of alcohol. Designed to complement the simple menu, the drink selection will include Bud, Bud Light, Abita Amber, a wine selection, mimosas, and Bloody Marys.


Both Camellia Grills are open 8am to 11pm Monday through Thursday and 8am to 1am Friday and Saturday. Word!

Nice, I'm gonna have to get a

Nice, I'm gonna have to get a Doc Brinker's Special before work this weekend.

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