Tipsters and readers noticed that the Local Habit, which debuted in Hillcrest back in Summer 2011, closed doors recently and posted a notice promising to return after a remodel.
We were charged with getting the scoop and subsequently connected with executive chef Nick Brune, one of the Fifth Avenue restaurant's original founders.
Brune, who also runs Eco Caters, sold his share of Local Habit a year and a half ago but remained a culinary consultant. Now, he tells Eater that he's coming back to run the kitchen and help lead a thorough revamp of the restaurant alongside the current ownership.
The chef, born and raised in Louisiana, says Local Habit will refocus on the region's Creole and Cajun cuisine; Brune launched a new menu just before the shutter and has been refining it since. There will still be pizzas, plus reworked po' boys. Brune recently spent time in Southeast Asia and the influence will be seen in the rice flour coating of his Southern fried chicken and a noodle soup he's calling "ramen-meets-gumbo", which is crafted from handmade noodles based on a dark roux in a 26-hour pork and chicken broth seasoned with "Creole curry" and topped with braised pork shoulder, andouille sausage and a Creole-style pickled egg.
A updated design includes a 20-foot custom mural, an updated bar and roll-up doors; out front, a new wrought iron fenced patio will be added to enhance the New Orleans vibe.
When Local Habit reopens, likely early next month, it will also host live jazz and have a full liquor license, with a new cocktail list curated by Prepkitchen's Adam Lockridge.