New Orleans has a lot of its own peculiarities, such as giving directions as towards the river or towards the lake. The same is true for businesses and restaurants, often described as “before the storm,” or “after the storm,” a reference to Katrina.
Ye Olde College Inn, before the storm, had been around since 1933, serving cocktails and localized favorites like po-boys, chicken or pork chops smothered in gravy, and the like. It had a very regular group of customers for its consistent cuisine and reliability.
In 2003, local entrepreneur (Rock n’ Bowl) John Blancher purchased the restaurant, and gently starting to shape it to his vision, restaurantus interruptus came along with Katrina, which put three feet of water in the restaurant.
Undeterred, Blancher was able to reopen for limited service after a few months, in another property, 30 feet west of the original, and he hasn’t missed a beat (or meal) since.
Ye Old College Inn of today not only features the local favorites, but has also considerably amped up its menu with creative cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.
One of my oldest N’awlins pals suggested we hit the Inn for dinner (and a straight up Manhattan for her, two Stellas for me). A comfortable setting and a comfortable friendship, what could be better?
The nite we visited they were offering a special hamburger, ground in-house from beef tenderloins, capped with seared fois gras and gold leaf, along with fresh-cut truffle oil fries. Both were superb.
Here’s the full menu. If you’re visiting New Orleans, you can hit the restaurant via a pleasurable journey on the St. Charles/Carrolton streetcar from the Quarter or Garden District.