There are over 1,000 restaurants in New Orleans, and many are run by neophytes who have only passing familiarity with sanitation. Others, run by industry veterans, are just as dirty. Their cleanliness is governed by their laissez-faire outlook on life.
When we lived in Birmingham, long before the days of the internet, we relied on The Birmingham News for information on local restaurant’s sanitation. Oddly, this is how we discovered some of our favorite barbecue joints and fish shacks. We’d make notes on low-scoring outfits then trundle ourselves to the establishment.
We never got sick, and often penned articles for the local alt-monthly touting our discoveries.
Below, we cherry-picked a few of Price’s picks as they are places we regularly eat. Our crew is hardy, outfitted with cast-iron stomachs and the generous consumption of whiskey; it’s been 15 years since we last got sick, and that was from eating tacos sold out of the trunk of a Hyundai just down the street from Franklin Barbecue in Austin.
Price’s metric for inclusion on his list was that each restaurant had to have a dozen or more “critical violations” which is to say you’re throwing caution to the wind by eating there.
HANK’S SEAFOOD & SUPERMARKET
25 Critical Violations
Feb. 11 = 5 critical violations
June 23 = 17 critical violations
Oct. 9 = 3 critical violations
2634 St. Claude Ave.
One of our favorites, and a place we regularly send out of towners. Go for the stuffed bell peppers.
CAJUN SEAFOOD #2
23 Critical Violations
March 20 = 5 critical violations
March 24 = 1 critical violation
July 20 = 8 critical violations
July 26 = 3 critical violations
Nov. 29 = 6 critical violations
1901 Almonaster Ave.
Good workingman blue plates. The scene in the parking lot’s a trip as the neighborhood hookers and drug dealers like to congregate there.
BISCUITS & BUNS ON BANKS
17 Critical Violations
Jun. 15 = 2 critical violations
Jun. 23 = 3 critical violations
Aug. 4 = 7 critical violations
Sept. 11 = 1 critical violation
Oct. 3 = 4 critical violations
4337 Banks St.
Cheap breakfasts, decent biscuits, neo-Bohemian gathering spot.
FLORA GALLERY AND COFFEE SHOP
16 Critical Violations
March 20 = 1 critical violation
April 27 = 2 critical violations
July 19 = 6 critical violations
Aug. 2 = 1 critical violation
Nov. 1 = 6 critical violations
2600 Royal St.
Great people watching here early in the morning when Big Daddy’s across the street disgorges its crowd at daybreak.
14 Critical Violations
May 19 = 6 critical violations
Aug. 23 = 6 critical violations
Nov. 22 = 2 critical violations
601 Gallier St.
Sysco frozen foodstuffs reheated for consumption by tourists. Go for the praline bacon.
LI’L DIZZY’S CAFE
14 Critical Violations
March 30 = 3 critical violations
April 10 = 1 critical violation
June 23 = 1 critical violation
Sept. 9 = 7 critical violations
Dec. 11 = 2 critical violations
1500 Esplanade Ave.
This one shocked us as the Baquet family have been running restaurants in New Orleans for over 70 years. Great blue plate breakfasts, respectable gumbo and all you can eat fried chicken for lunch.
12 Critical Violations
April 27 = 4 critical violations
July 13 = 5 critical violations
Sept. 7 = 2 critical violations
Oct. 10 = 1 critical violation
3800 Canal St.
We’ve been eating at Mandina’s since we were kids back in the 70s. Unfortunately our last visit found the shrimp chock-full of sodium tripolyphosphate. Not going back.
Here’s Todd Price’s full article.