by Ian McNulty
Ancora (4508 Freret St., New Orleans, 324-1636) serves a short, focused menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas produced by an imported, wood-burning oven, plates of house-made salumi and wines from Italy’s Campania region. Firewood for that magnificent oven is stacked around the dining room at this casual restaurant, and the tables, bar tops and other furnishings are crafted from reclaimed lumber. Ancora serves dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
Just next door, High Hat Café (4500 Freret St., 754-1366) serves a mix of Louisiana and Deep South comfort food, with dishes like Delta-style tamales, BBQ shrimp and catfish baskets. The place has a vintage look, with broad windows, a gorgeous tiled floor, cafeteria-style Formica tables, frosted light fixtures and a big bar. High Hat serves lunch and dinner daily.
Though each restaurant is its own distinct business, they share a roof in the former location of Antoine’s Bakery and they share a common co-owner in Adolfo Garcia, the chef and restaurateur behind RioMar, La Boca, a Mano and Gusto. Garcia opened Ancora with chef Jeff Talbot while he partnered with Chip Apperson for High Hat.