It's a rebirth of sorts for Local Habit, which is soft reopening this week to gear up for a grand opening party scheduled for this Saturday, March 28.
Earlier this year, the four-year-old Hillcrest restaurant shuttered for a remodel and a reboot, with co-founder and executive chef Nick Brune back to lead the charge forward.
Brune says he hopes the changes will bring back Local Habit's original fans and entice new diners to the restaurant, which has added a roll-up door that opens onto a new sidewalk patio on 5th Avenue and a 20-foot custom mural by artist Sean Dietrich that conveys the New Orleans spirit of the freshly redone eatery.
Many classic cocktails were invented in NOLA, and Local Habit's new drink program, created by Adam Lockridge (Prepkitchen), includes the timeless Sazarac, Gin Fizz, and Milk Punch, plus his version of an Old Fashioned and the good-time-in-a-glass Hurricane. Brune, who is known for his beer and food pairings, will be doing occasional beer and spirit-focused dinner events.
Louisiana-born Brune's food, which he calls "Cali-Creole", remains farm-driven, and the menu includes holdovers ranging from po' boys to Creole pizza. There's also 48-hour marinated Jidori chicken, fried crispy with a coating a rice flour, plus a new Creole twist on ramen based on a 26-hour pork and chicken broth and noodles made from a dark roux of flour and fat.
There will be dinner nightly, lunch on Friday and Saturday, brunch on Sunday and a late night menu, available until 1:30 a.m., that includes the aforementioned noodle soup, beignets and more.