With new on-the-go restaurants popping up all over the city, New Orleans’ dynamic dining scene continues to undergo a renaissance. The pop-up phenomenon, often referred to as supper clubs, is part of a contemporary gastronomic trend taking place throughout the country, in which temporary restaurants give diners a chance to savor one-of-a-kind meals. Popular since the 2000s in Britain and Australia, pop-up eateries, which are often held at locations disclosed exclusively to followers via social media, offer young professionals in the culinary field a chance to showcase their talents and practice their skills in a creative, experimental environment. If you are looking for a unique dining experience in New Orleans, here are eight pop-up dining options to try right now.
Established in 2014, Congreso Cubano is a Cuban-inspired restaurant dedicated to serving fun eats inspired by grandma’s classic Latin dishes. A partner of Grow On and Fais Do Do farms, two local initiatives focused on producing renewable and sustainable urban agriculture in New Orleans, the monthly restaurant features a flavorful menu filled with Cuban sandwiches, guava and cheese empanadas, fried Brussels sprouts with bacalao and dressing, and a variety of other tasty options.
Find them: Monthly at the Tigermen Den / Follow them: @Congresocubano
Founded by David Robertshaw, Bird by Bird, a Tandoor in New Orleans is a mobile eatery serving delicious Indian/Pakistani-themed food. Inspired by Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, this pop-up restaurant, which rolls around New Orleans on a clay tandoor oven, cooks up home-made creations including tandoori chicken, curried lamb, rice, yogurt, naan bread, and channa.
Find them: Every other Friday at Sidney’s Saloon / Follow them: Bird by Bird, @BirdsTandoor
Using recipes and techniques learned from Burmese families, street vendors, and restaurants, Lahpet: A Taste of Burma is a New Orleans pop-up eatery combining Burmese and American Southern culinary traditions. The current pop-up, which features dishes such as tea-leaf salad, potato-ginger samosas, house-curried fish plate, and lemongrass tofu, offers visitors a $10 lunch special including one of the three main salads as well as a side dish.
Find them: Lunch Monday through Friday at Milkfish / Follow them: Lahpetkitchen, @Lahpetkitchen
With dishes ranging from tacos and tamales to cachapas and arepas, La Cocinita is a contemporary pop-up serving a fusion of Venezuelan and Mexican cuisine. This gourmet food truck, which opened in 2011, seeks to infuse Latin flavors into the already flavor-filled culture of New Orleans. Menu favorites include arepas stuffed with meat and cheese, flour tortillas served with rice, black beans, meat, and melted cheese, and the traditional rice bowl with meat and guasacaca, all served with speciality sauces made by the owners
Find them: Tulane Medical Center, Uptown Crescent City Farmers Market, The Rendezvous / Follow them: LaCocinita, @LaCocinita
Blending Cajun, Creole, and soul-food dishes with the flavors of Thailand and the Caribbean, Black Swan is a pop-up dining spot created by native New Orleanian chef Nikki Wright. The menu, which offers everything from crawfish pie and coconut stir-fry over jasmine rice to break pudding with a bourbon crème anglaise, focuses on delivering authentic food creations with a fine-dining approach.
Find them: Milkfish, Cafe Istanbul, various festivals / Follow them: Blackswanpopup, @BlackSwan_Popup
Based out of the Chinese restaurant Bao and Noodle in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, Fatto Bene is an Italian pop-up offering customers delicious house-made pastas. Their bel-paese-inspired menu includes lasagnas, spaghetti carbonara, risottos, ravioli, creamy gnocchi, salads, as well as desserts.
Find them: Second Sunday of every month at Bao and Noodle / Follow them: Fattobenenola, @fattobenenola
Specializing in chef-crafted fries, Fry and Pie is a pop-up located at Hi-Ho’s lounge, a neighborhood live-music venue located on St. Claude Avenue. The unique menu, which features gourmet fresh-cut fries served as pan dessert pies, includes fun creations such as The Midnight Cowboy, which is served with BBQ beef brisket, grilled corn salsa, and aged cheddar, and The Duckside, served with duck confit, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, and red wine demi glace.
Find them: Monday and Wednesday through Sunday at the Hi-Ho Lounge / Follow them: Fryandpie, @fryandpie
The Old Portage is a pop-up led by husband and wife Jordan and Amarys Herdon and located at NOLA Brewing’s tap room on Tuesdays and at the Black Penny every Friday and Saturday. The menu features a succession of small plates that celebrate the port of New Orleans and includes dishes such as peas and rice and fried oyster po-boys, and local favorites include the rabbit lasagna, the Upper Quarter burger, and the preservation plate.
Find them: Tuesdays at NOLA Brewing Tap Room, every other Saturday at Black Penny / Follow them: Theoldportage, @theoldportage