When faced with time off after graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University, Maggie DiMaggio took to baking cake after cake in her own kitchen. Seeing the potential in her baked treats, she soon began taking weekly pilgrimages to the Mandeville farmers' market to sell her cupcakes and fine breads. As the popularity of her creations grew, the special orders began pouring in?so many, in fact, that she had to open a storefront just to manage the demand.
That storefront soon evolved from its humble beginnings into The Chocolate Vine, a European-style bakery that also houses an intimate caf?. To foster a cozy, inviting atmosphere, Maggie furnishes the small eatery with tables and chairs from local antique stores and regularly applies a fresh coat of buttercream icing to the walls. When not crafting almond-, strawberry-, and chocolate-infused cakes , she cooks light lunches with fruits and vegetables from a local produce stand. Maggie also graciously opens up her wine cellar for regular tastings, during which guests sip on eight glasses of her finest reserves.
Justin Devillier was a star in NoLa's culinary scene well before he became a chef-testant on Top Chef: New Orleans—he was nominated for a James Beard award in both 2012 and 2013. At La Petite Grocery, he shows off his flair for simple, French-Southern cooking, whipping up dishes such as shellfish stew with collard greens.
Even a crackdown from local authorities couldn’t move Bacchanal totally indoors. Though local guidelines mandated they tweak their operation a bit—meaning moving the kitchen and dining room inside—Bacchanal still serves glasses of earthy, Old-World wines in a fresh-air courtyard amid nightly live music.
The Delachaise’s impressive list of wines was good enough for USA Today's guest sommelier, who named it among his top 10 favorites in the country. And not just for its wines by the glass—a mix of domestic and imported pours—but also for upscale small plates that range from spicy fried frog legs to Cuban-style twice-cooked pork.
The two-story building that houses Orleans Grapevine has been a culinary hub since it was built in 1809. Back then, the eatery was known far and wide for its cuisine, and it's kept that reputation even after a few renovations. Now the restaurant also pours wines from all over the globe.