by Kevin Allman
It's a little surreal to walk into the new Camellia Grill in the French Quarter (Chartres and Toulouse), because it looks just like the Riverbend Camellia Grill — happily, down to some of the same waiters. But it's brand new; this is opening weekend, and a great time to eat there because the crowds are still small and 25 percent of proceeds from the weekend are going to the Louisiana SPCA and the BIg Easy Foundation.
The menu is exactly the same as it is Uptown, the marble counter and the stools are identical... but the clientele is a little different (a few more out-of-season Mardi Gras beads, a lady from the nearby Gumbo Shop stopping in for a take-out club sandwich). Not sure what the vibe will be like late at night — the FQ Camellia opens at 7 am every morning and closes at 1 am on weeknights, 3 am Fri.-Sat. But for now you can walk in, grab a stool with no waiting, and enjoy one of their signature omelettes or a freeze.
As I was eating (bacon cheeseburger, dressed all the way, grilled onions), a little second line came down Chartres Street, and I got this brief video of the parade and the inside of the Camellia.