For the past few months, folks in the Faubourg Marigny have been enjoying how well casual Vietnamese food works in the setting of a New Orleans bar. Soon, theyll get to see how it works in a neighborhood bakery.
Not long after opening this spring, the Lost Love Lounge leased its kitchen space to local chef Chris Reel, who began serving the casual Vietnamese classics like pho, bun and banh mi (pictured above) to the bar crowd. Reel called the operation Marigny Pho and it seemed to be doing well.
I was preparing to write a review of Marigny Pho, but when I called recently for an interview Reel said his business relationship with the Lost Love Lounge had gone sour and that he was looking for other venues.
This week, he struck a deal with local baker Steve Himelfarb to incorporate Marigny Pho into the Cake Café, the bakery and restaurant Himelfarb runs with Allison Gorlin about three blocks from the Lost Love Lounge. Himelfarb has hired Reel and his service staff, who will prepare their same menu there in the evenings, when Cake Café is normally closed.
Himelfarb says he was impressed by the following Marigny Pho had garnered after a few months in business at Lost Love Lounge and wanted to see it remain in the neighborhood. Cake Cafés operations will continue as usual serving breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday while Reel will serve his Marigny Pho menu at night, probably from 5 pm. to 10:30 p.m., he says.
Look for a trial run of Marigny Pho at Cake Café in late August, with regular dinner hours beginning in September.
Meanwhile, Geoff Douville, one of the owners of Lost Love Lounge, says another operator is interested in leasing the bars kitchen and serving Vietnamese food there.
We think Vietnamese food is a really good fit for the neighborhood here, Douville says. Well probably have some downtime (between operators) but we want to get food in there as fast as possible.