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Maurepas Foods Opens

New Bywater Restaurant Features Farm-Fresh Ingredients



On Sunday, the young Chef Michael Doyle will finally return to where he belongs – telling dirty jokes in the kitchen.

 

“I haven’t worn goofy pajamas in a long time. I’m very excited. I got new clogs,” he said this week.

 

Doyle's new restaurant, Maurepas Foods, is located in an old property at the corner of Burgundy and Louisa streets in the Bywater. The veteran of Dante's Kitchen said he and the manager of the front of the house, Chris Cuddihee, grew weary of the fine dining hussle, but do believe in the care and detail of fine dining.

 

“I’m probably not the right guy for a filet mignon,” Doyle said. Instead, his focus will be serving homey, robust cuisine, affordably.

 

Perhaps Maurepas Foods' defining feature will be its fresh ingredients of heirloom vegetables, farmed by a Sicilian friend of Doyle’s in St. James Parish.

 

“He grows so many different things on a small plot of land,” Doyle said, including dandelion greens and pink cardoon. A taste of the dandelion greens was flowery with a subtle, earthy spiciness.

 

To Doyle, fresh from the farm is a given. “Calling it farm-to-table is something you should be doing in the first place. You shouldn’t get bonus points for it.”

 

The produce from the little farm allows Doyle to serve fresh and affordable food in a “rustic, country peasant” style.

 

“He grows a lot of odd things from odd places, and what we do is pull them all together so people can try them,” Doyle said as he stroked clean a stalk of pink cardoon, which looks a bit like celery with the consistency of artichoke heart.

 

Doyle will use the local network of purveyors he developed Uptown for his new gig. All wine will be offered by the glass, in sync with Doyle’s mission to provide an affordable array of wine and food for all to try. Maurepas will be “very vegetarian and vegan friendly,” and will serve cheeses from St. James Cheese Shop in Uptown. Doyle aims to rotate half the menu every two weeks.

 

Their food menu is broken down to four sections: Vegetables, Starch & Grain; Meat & Fish; Cheese; Dessert. Sweet Potato Croquettes have boiled peanuts, salted plum jam, and shitake-amaro glaze. Brussels Sprouts come with bacon, winter vegetable and an oyster relish. Pork & Bacon Terrine is served with pickled pears, honey, peppercress, and mustard. Green Onion Sausage from Terranova’s comes with arancini and a pumpkin-ginger mustard. Goat Tacos are topped with pickled green tomatoes and cilantro harissa. Mussels come in a brown ale & stilton broth. Oysters on the Half Shell with mustard green vinaigrette and toasted fennel crackers are only $10. Cheese platters are $8 for small and $12 for large.

 

The menu has 13 cocktails, one of which is called The Gentleman & The Jackass: bourbon, paprika, basil, lemon, peach, ginger beer. Also, they have a hand selected wine list served by the glass, half carafe or bottle, beer by the bottle, can and draft, housemade sodas, teas by Maypop, and coffee by Coast Roast.

 

The vintage commercial space has undergone extensive renovations over the last year. It didn’t even have a floor when Doyle bought it. The old wood left in the long-vacant property has been salvaged as vertical wood panels along the bottom half of the restaurant’s walls, while the upper half is painted an earthy beige. The same wood is used as clipboards for the menus. The 25-foot copper bar is made of salvaged materials acquired from the old space as well.

 

Over the weekend, after a two-day health inspection and many trips to City Hall, Doyle finally got clearance to start cooking. Entergy finally came by and built a new power grid to juice the sweet new kitchen.

 

“I’ve got a little alleyway in the back, where all the neighbors are at home all the time. I’m not going to put a big smoker out there,” Doyle said as he bit into some freshly-smoked slabs of bacon.

 

Smoking will be done off-site by Neil McClure of McClure’s Barbecue, the daytime pop-up at Dante’s Kitchen, where Doyle worked for seven years. McClure asked this writer to take a picture of him humping the brand new stoves, but we try at NoDef to uphold some sense of… I wish I took the photo.

 

Doyle knew one of the main hurdles for a new restaurant to open in this city is getting approval from the local neighborhood association, because parking is always a concern of neighbors. Doyle went to the Bywater Neighborhood Association first thing when he bought the property. Most neighbors were “super supportive” to have a fine restaurant in the area, but many were concerned of street parking. But what would be the solution?

 

“A parking lot? Not in this neighborhood,” Doyle told NoDef.

 

Eventually, the neighborhood association agreed to allow Doyle’s future patrons to park on the street.

 

“We’re doing something ambitious in the Bywater,” Doyle said, which attracted a lot of young professionals in the food service in New Orleans. Along with others from other fine establishments in town, Maurepas’ pastry chef quit working at Emeril’s to work in the new Bywater restaurant.

 

Maurepas Foods is located on 3200 Burgundy St. in the Bywater. Maurepas’ will be open from Thursday to Tuesday, 11am – midnight.

 

 

 

 

So, do you mean "wainscoting"

So, do you mean "wainscoting" when you mention (see below)? The interior looks great, by the way.

"The old wood left in the long-vacant property has been salvaged as vertical wood panels along the bottom half of the restaurant’s walls"

Why yes, I suppose I did.

Why yes, I suppose I did. That's nice they've got one word for it.

Maurepas Foods officially

Maurepas Foods officially opens to the public at 6pm tonight. Come & get it!

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