3 Fleur
EntreePrice-16
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayNo Lunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Cafe 615 (Da Wabbit)

Gretna: 615 Kepler. 504-365-1225. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

DaWabbit

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
A bit before the storm, this old joint (and that’s what it was) got a facelift and a new name–one that could only be understood in New Orleans. The menu and the waitresses’ T-shirts say, “Cafe 615, Home of Da Wabbit.” (Cf “Ruth’s Chris,” “Pascal’s Manale.”)

The improvements at Da Wabbit (Cafe 615 seems all wrong for the place, and who can remember a number, anyway?) is another encouraging signs that, after two decades of slim pickings, the dining scene on the West Bank is getting better. It’s a reliable restaurant with more good food than immediately meets the eye. It would be the Mandina’s of the West Bank of Tony Mandina’s were’t already there.

We all have to go to Gretna once in awhile, and it’s good to find a delicious neighborhood Creole place to eat.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
It seems strange to say that the best reason to come here is to get a load of the vintage sign outside. That’s almost true. It depicts (in enamel by day, neon at night) a cartoon hare who looks like a blood relative of Bugs Bunny. Under the graphic is the legend “DA-WABBIT Drive In.” (The latter is 1950s lingo for a place with a parking lot.) But it’s the food that makes this old roadhouse worth searching for. All West Bankers know about it, but it’s only a legend to most East Bankers.

WHAT’S GOOD
It’s a classic New Orleans neighborhood eatery. You expect fried seafood platters, red beans on Monday, poor boy sandwiches, fried chicken. You don’t expect specials like blackened tuna and steak with crabmeat. It comes out hot, garnished with good side dishes, and seasoned the way it ought to be. That fried chicken is a major draw.

BACKSTORY
Kepler Street is the continuation of Fourth and Fifth Streets, the major route through the suburban West Bank communities before the West Bank Expressway opened in the 1950s. Da Wabbit opened shop in 1947, and has been slinging hash ever since. For much of its more recent history, it was more than a little raffish, better known as a bar with card games in the back rooms than for its food. The current owners took over in the early 2000s, gave it a more respectable official (but eminently forgettable) new name, performed a serious renovation to the interior, fixed the neon sign neon, and reopened as a much better place to eat.

DINING ROOM
The floor plan is shaped like a keyhole, with the more pleasant tables–topped with brown butcher paper–in the circular part. The bar, which also has tables for dining, is the flat end of the keyhole. The interior shows few signs of the restaurant’s actual age, and is as pleasant as any other good neighborhood cafe. Waitresses who wear “Cafe 615 Home Of Da Wabbit” T-shirts are like that lady who lives next door to you.

REVIEWER’S NOTEPAD

FULL ONLINE MENU

BEST DISHES
Starters
Oysters brochette (fried, wrapped in bacon, remoulade sauce)
Frog legs Proven├žal (pan-fried, capers, onions, tomatoes, olives, garlic butter sauce)
Fried calamari, marinara sauce
Chicken & andouille gumbo
Turtle soup
Italian salad

Sandwiches
Muffuletta
Fried oyster, shrimp, or catfish poor boy
Hot roast beef poor boy (ask for easy on the gravy)

Entrees
Fried seafood platters
Fried or slow-smoked chicken
Blackened steak, garlic butter compound
Seared duck breast, orange cane syrup glaze
Blackened yellowfin tuna, beurre blanc sauce
Bacon-wrapped pork medallions, orange cane syrup glaze
Shrimp etouffee with fried catfish
Hamburger steak, mushrooms, onions, gravy
Louisiana crawfish au gratin, pasta

Daily specials:
Red beans and rice (MO)
Chicken stew and rice (TU) .
Shrimp and beef stuffed bell peppers, mac ‘n’ cheese (WE)
Smothered rabbit with white beans and rice (TH)
Catfish plate, potato salad (FR)

Desserts
Caramel cheesecake
Bananas Foster ice cream cake
Housemade bread pudding, whiskey sauce

FOR BEST RESULTS
Order one appetizer per two people. These are very large. Although you might get the idea that this is a place where only regulars are welcome, in fact it’s among the friendliest neighborhood joints in town.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They need to fix the neon on the west side of the sign. Or maybe not.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +2
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness -1
  • Local Color +2

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

4 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Day biullosa on February 2, 2015

    We have been there many times & always enjoyed. My uncle, John Brown first introduced this Rest.
    When it opened with this management. We have been for lunch & also for dinner. We have always enjoyed our food & service. Everyone is always friendly, we will keep returning.

    • Day biullosa on February 2, 2015

      We were introduced to Cafe 615 by my uncle John Brown when they re-opened. We have been ther for lunch & dinner.
      The food is very good & we have been back many times. Try it & I think you will be back.

  2. John and Elaine on March 5, 2015

    three years ago just after Easter, our waitress at the Commanders Palace told us that the best place for crawfish is Wabbitts. You are reportedly serving all you can eat crawfish for $20. If this is true, we will be making a pilgrimage to Gretna the second half of April… Are there any local BnB s you can recommend ???

  3. joel on April 18, 2017

    new orleans neighborho.od cafe before tourists. there used to be dozens of these places—steak and eggers in northern parlance –but creole because the neighborhoods were still basicaly creole –gumbo, and crawfish and turtle soup and flounder and chicory coffee. on theeast bank–downtown–these places became mandinas and pacals manale and liuzzas. andrendon inn , franky and andjohny..and dooky chase…and a reservaton became necessary.

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