Liz’s Where Y’At Diner
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
When the exodus from the South Shore to the North Shore became heavy in the 1980s, almost immediately the relocatees started looking for neighborhood restaurants like the ones they’d enjoyed for decades in and around New Orleans. They didn’t find them. The closest approximations were the country-style diners on the major highways, which lacked both charm and good cooking. Eggs Sardou? Pasta with tasso and crawfish cream sauce? Forget about it! By the time of Katrina, the first New Orleans-style neighborhood eateries were finally there, beating the chains in the rish to serve this ballooning market. And so we have places like Liz’s.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The main theme of any conversation about Liz’s begins with a gripe about how hard it is to park there, especially on weekends. Everything else is good news. Breakfast is the main specialty, going far beyond the usual staples of that meal and allowing you to construct a unique platter. It’s not like those cafeteria-like chains; they cook everything to order. Even the cooking methods are up in the air (sometimes literally).
A good illustration of Liz’s style is what they call “scramblers.” They are what they sound like: scrambled eggs with a host of possible ingredients stirred in. These can be as simple as ham and cheese to as unique as crabmeat, avocados and shrimp. They take the same approach to “Bennies”–variations on eggs Benedict, all polished and satisfying. Breakfast dishes are available all the way until closing. The lunch side of the menu is a bit more prosaic, with sandwiches, salads, soups, and specials from the red beans, meatballs, and crawfish etouffee side of the universe.
Liz Munsun is proud to be a Yat. She got into the food service business making sno-balls, something she enjoyed more than she thought she would. She opened the Whereyaat Cafe on the Florida Street old main drag in Mandeville. Something about the place grabbed customers, and it’s been tremendously popular ever since.
If Liz had designed her restaurant during her high school and college days, it probably wouldn’t look any different from the way it does. References to 1970s New Orleans culture are everywhere, in the wild color schemes, the poems and drawings on the walls, and in other ways related to the Age of Aquarius. (I am from that era myself, so it resonates.) The staff is a happy bunch, and the whole joint jumps.
More ruminations appear in our Dining Diary. Click on any of the dates below for those reports, each written a few days after a meal at Liz’s Where Y’At Diner.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Basic breakfast platters (“deuces”)
Scramblers, especially with crabmeat and hollandaise (St. Charles)
Bennies (poached eggs with choice of garnishes and sauces)
Grillades & grits
Filet steak & eggs, Bearnaise sauce
“Golosh” (grits, eggs, beef debris gravy, biscuits
Cheddar shrimp & Grits
Waffles (many toppings)
French toast (many toppings),especially bananas Foster and almond)
Panko fried green tomatoes, pepper jack, shrimp & crawfish cream sauce
Salads (dozens of possibilities)
Roast beef poor boy (and others)
Barbecue shrimp or shrimp remoulade poor boy
Crabmeat Au Gratin
Fish of the day
White chocolate bread pudding
Chewy gooey brownie
FOR BEST RESULTS
Weekends here are crazy busy. Figure on parking three or so blacks away, and be happy when you find something closer.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The parking and jam-packed dining room will not be corrected except by moving to a new location, which may ruin the scheme. It would be nice if they were open for dinner, but that’s also unlikely to happen.
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 +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Open Sunday lunch
- Open Monday lunch
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- No reservations