2 Fleur
Average check per person $5-$15
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Tessie’s Place

Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 116 N Woodlawn Dr. 504-835-8377. Map.
Casual.
MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
A throwback to the neighborhood restaurants of at least fifty years ago, Tessie’s serves all the local favorites from a menu so extensive it’s almost laughable. You can get not just red beans any day but white beans, butterbeans, or blackeye peas. Those are all good, but the best shot is the fried chicken, followed closely by the roast beef poor boy. Enormous portions are also part of the authenticity.

WHAT’S GOOD
Here’s a restaurant full of dishes hardly anyplace else serves anymore, particularly among the daily specials. When’s the last time you had a hamburger steak or a bowl of chili in a restaurant? The offerings are a mix of neighborhood Creole dishes with Italian food, with sandwiches good enough to make the restaurant’s reputation on their own.

BACKSTORY
Tessie’s is the reincarnation of a 1940s Jefferson Highway roadhouse called the Club 90, which had a long-standing record of good poor boys and fried chicken when it closed in the 1970s. The standards of that era are all still in place. This has downsides (a lack of vivid freshness) as well as upsides (some great lost flavors are here).

DINING ROOM
Well hidden on a side street off Airline Highway (Woodlawn is a block city side of Clearview), Tessie’s dining room looks like any of a hundred restaurants I recall from the 1960s. Most of those are either gone or renovated. Tessie’s remains–without irony or self-consciousness–a time machine to that era. Even the music could have been heard in the 1950s.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Chicken breast tenders
Jumbo chicken wings
»Fried eggplant sticks
Eggplant stuffing
»Stuffed artichokes
Broccoli au gratin
»Fried onion rings
Stuffed mushrooms
Shrimp cocktail or remoulade
Spinach-artichoke dip
Fried chicken livers
Salads
Tossed or Caesar salad (options: shrimp or grilled chicken)
»Combination salad
Chef salad
Cole slaw
Potato salad
»Wop salad
Boiled shrimp salad
Lettuce and tomato salad
Diced chicken salad
»Roasted garlic chicken salad
Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, celery, red onions, Monterey jack cheese, black olives, garlic balsamic vinaigrette
Soups
Turkey sausage gumbo
»Vegetable soup
Split pea soup
Shrimp Creole
French onion soup
Tomato-basil soup
»Seafood gumbo
Chicken noodle soup
Crawfish etouffee
»Chili
Entrees
Beans served with rice and smoked sausage, grilled pork chop or fried catfish
»Red beans
»Butter beans
»White beans
»Black-eyed peas
»Beef stew
Barbecue ribs
»Hamburger steak
Grilled pork chop
Boneless pork chop
»Stuffed pork chop
»Corned beef and cabbage
»Meatballs and spaghetti
»Italian sausage and spaghetti
Chicken breast parmigiana with spaghetti
Veal, chicken or eggplant parmigiana with spaghetti
Pasta Alfredo (options: grilled shrimp, chicken or catfish)
»Fried chicken, half or quarter
Fried chicken livers, gravy and onions
Grilled chicken breast, onions and mushrooms
»Fried shrimp, catfish, stuffed crab, oyster or combination platters
Stuffed shrimp
»Shrimp bordelaise with spaghetti
»Broiled redfish
Grilled salmon, garlic butter
»Broiled flounder, crabmeat stuffing
Broiled tilapia
Shrimp parmigiana
Stuffed catfish
»Thin-cut catfish
Sandwiches
»Ham and cheese
»Ham
»Fried catfish, shrimp, or oyster
Club (and variations)
Hamburger
»Roast beef
Barbecue beef
»Corned beef
Chicken fried steak
Meatball
»Smoked, Italian or hot sausage
Diced chicken salad
Grilled chicken breast
Desserts
»Bread pudding
Apple Pie
Cheesecake
»Peach Cobbler

FOR BEST RESULTS
Wait as long as you need to for the fried chicken. Get (and split) a side order of beans with that.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They’re good at frying, but it needs to be more religiously prepared to order, in no hurry.

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 +1
  • Wine & Bar -1
  • Hipness -3
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

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

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
“We’re going to the barroom,” said the female of the couple that just finished eating dinner while I was just beginning mine at Tessie’s Place. She laughed about that, and the waitress laughed back. As if they were doing something naughty. People of a certain age always laugh when they talk about having a drink.

Tessie’s walls are nearly 100 percent covered with fake walnut paneling–the restaurant interior decoration rage of the 1960s. All the other furnishings fit in perfectly with the wall covering. So does the menu. It’s far longer than you find these days, with almost everything you can imagine such a restaurant’s serving. It’s a long time since I saw a menu with a dozen salads (including one of the last still called a “wop salad”), ten soups, and four kinds of beans-and-rice.


2 Readers Commented

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  1. El on February 22, 2014

    Wife and I ate there last night. She did not like their fried oysters and I’ve had better stuffed crabs.

  2. Kathy on July 17, 2015

    We went there recently for the first time and LOVED it. If anything could get me past my mourning over the death of Tiffin Inn, it’s Tessie’s Place. We’re going back soon — fantastic chicken livers!

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