When Popeyes first opened in a New Orleans suburb in 1972, it wasn't exactly an instant hit. Known back then as Chicken on the Run, it experienced several months of lackluster sales. Not ready to give up, founder Alvin Copeland Sr. changed his recipe from traditional southern fried chicken to the native spicy New Orleans?style chicken. He then gave his eatery a similarly spicy new moniker: Popeyes, named after "Popeye" Doyle, the hardboiled detective in the hit movie The French Connection.
A little more than a decade later, the popular chain had opened its 500th restaurant, expanded to Canada, and added its fluffy buttermilk biscuits to the menu. It also introduced the country to crawfish, which?much like draping beads over everything from trees to the local alligator population?had been beloved by Louisianans for decades.
Nowadays, patrons can dig into the Louisiana favorites that made Popeyes famous, including breaded seafood, po' boys, and sides like mashed potatoes and red beans and rice. Of course, the main event is still spicy or mild chicken that marinates for 12 hours before being hand-battered, hand-breaded, and fried.
The folks at The Toasted Yolk Cafe want to make sure that the most important meal of the day is also the tastiest one. Served all day, the breakfast options are many, with favorites that include the bone-in pork-chop breakfast cooked to order with two eggs and a hash brown casserole or grits, or the breakfast sandwich with two eggs, bacon, and fresh-sliced tomatoes. Sweet options include the belgian waffle topped with fresh fruit and a mound of whipped cream, or "churro-style" donuts dusted with cinnamon-sugar and drizzled with caramel sauce. They also serve lunch after 10:30 a.m., building a slew of sandwiches, homemade soups, and salads.
The chefs at Anothai Cuisine and Nara Thai Dining grind their own fresh herbs and spices to awaken patrons' tongues with each bite of their Thai dishes. Pungent curry coats seafood, chicken, and noodles, and on the other end of savory-to-sweet spectrum, mango imbues shrimp with flavor that evokes the tropical drinks of which ice fishermen's dreams are made. Artfully arranged garnishes complement colorful dishes to excite the eyes, which can scan the bright red and white accents between bites.
Hofbrau Steaks hogties hearty appetites in a classic steakhouse milieu. The brawny menu muscles up high-quality meats including the Hill Country rib eye ($19.99–$23.99), which is cooked in lemon butter and seasoned with the restaurant's secret seasonings, dubbed "Magic Dust". The hand-breaded chicken fried steak ($9.99 lunch, $10.99–$14.99 dinner) comes topped with country gravy and the emotional baggage of growing up as two meats. In pig in a tater, pulled pork hides from hungry eaters in a potato cave ($7.99), and bacon-wrapped Texas shrimp wraps itself up into a jalapeno-and-smoked-bacon cocoon ($12.99–¬¬$18.99, dinner only). Midday eats—such as the Hofbrau Hamburger steak, topped with brown gravy and grilled onions ($9.99, lunch only)—sate workday cravings.
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The Veranda's owners cultivate an intimate ambience punctuated with both upscale dishes influenced by American and European flavors and live musical entertainment. The extensive menu puts a unique spin on fine-dining starters, such as roast duck with mango chutney ($10) and seafood cheesecake, a savory shellfish filling embraced by a pretzel crust and parmesan-horseradish cream sauce ($10). Electrify appetites with an ancho-marinated tilapia accompanied by cilantro cream ($18) or satisfy succulence cravings with seafood-stuffed quail that, like an apple on the clearance shelf, is semi-boneless ($23). The lunch menu, available Wednesday through Friday (reservation required), features a Herculean selection of paninis (starting at $10.95) and salads.