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The Joint's New Location
Inside the Breens' Bigger Bywater BBQ Biz
BYWATER - Starting tomorrow, one of downtown New Orleans' favorite food outposts will be located a little closer to the center of the city.
The old little building on Poland Ave. that housed The Joint for almost eight years has been closed since January 31, as owners Jenny and Pete Breen moved shop to the corner of Royal and Mazant Streets over the weekend. Opening Saturday, The Joint now has a bigger kitchen, storage, bar, and grubbing space. For our benefit, they kept the paper towel turnstiles on the wooden picnic tables.
Jenny Breen is a native of Pensacola, and has lived in New Orleans for 12-13 years. Her husband Pete Breen is from Baltimore and has lived here for 14 years. The couple is on their second viewing of The Wire. Though the previous location was “real good to [the Breens],” Jenny said they are looking to “minimize the chaos” that often occurred in the hole in the wall's little kitchen
Now that they bought the new location and are settling in, Jenny said the relieving realization finally hit her that this – The Joint – is what the couple is doing with their lives.
The new location used to be Niedermeiers Grocery for many years, before becoming a Vietnamese-owned grocery that also served hot plates. The Breens had to start from ground zero on the paperwork to get proper restaurant licensing.
“We had to get it rezoned and go through every hoop possible for a restaurant to open,” Jenny Breen said.
They were on the lookout for a new location ever since the storm, and tried acquiring this specific location since 2009. When the Breens actively began renovations of the space in June, the windows were still boarded up with steel by the previous owners due to rampant looting post-Katrina.
To pay their respect to the history of the building, Jenny will hang black and white photographs of Niedermeiers Grocery on the walls.
The renovations went relatively stress-free, Jenny said. The result is a homey BBQ roadhouse, as opposed to the cramped, hole in the wall feel of the previous location. The floor is a beautiful mix of old layers of blue and green paint from the previous businesses, with patches of grey cement beneath it all. The walls are thin, horizontal wooden boards that run across the restaurant. The hanging ceiling fans with light clusters bring an old bar feel. Over a tiny cutout window for the cooks to see out of the kitchen at how busy the joint is hangs a sign, “MOJO MAN,” just in case someone is wondering whose pair of peering eyes they belong. There is a long patio on the side of the restaurant for outdoor steaing. The humungous smoker, which was custom designed by Pete Breen and an Uptown metal sculptor, also made the trip. They may get another smoker.
Currently, the hours will be the same from 11:30am – 9:00pm, Monday through Saturday. They will shoot to be open longer from 11:00am – 10:00pm eventually. Also, in time, they plan to add more to the menu, including cornbread, fresh seasonal sides, bacon, smoked fish, and smoked cheese.
Though the Bywater Neighborhood Association has given their support for The Joint, the Breens have yet to acquire their alcohol license, but expect to be pouring at the end of this month.
The Joint will open Saturday and is located on the corner of Royal and Mazant Streets in the Bywater. Monday – Saturday, 11:30am – 9:00pm.
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