Among the most delightful but least-discussed eateries in the French Quarter are the cafes catering to people who live there. That population has seen a long decline, as more residences become businesses. The result is that many of the old neighborhood places have shifted to the visitor trade, with the expected results. Eat has held off this unfortunate trend so well that it has a substantial following among both locals and people who visit New Orleans frequently.
Although no New Orleans neighborhood has a bigger or better community of eateries, there's a big gap between the joints selling poor boys, pizza and basic seafood and the big-deal gourmet restaurants. Eat is one of the few restaurants that fill that breach, with middling prices to match.
This corner has hosted neighborhood, breakfast-intensive restaurants for decades. The Quarter Scene was here for about twenty years until Katrina. Not long after the storm, Eat took over the space. It's one of a small local restaurant group that also includes Vacherie, Cafe on the Square and Between The Bread. The chef at Eat is Jarred Zeringue, a native.
Nearly everyone who has ever reported to me on Eat begins with the same sentence: "It's a cute little place." Cute: perfect for those looking for an escape from New Orleans funkiness. Little: it's really little. Tables and chairs fill the maximum amount of space without becoming inconvenient.
Not a place to come in a hurry. Arriving early in the meal period might get a prized window table. Because of the proximity of St. Louis Cathedral School, this location will never have a liquor license. So bring your own wine: no corkage fee for the first bottle, $15 a bottle thereafter.