by Ian McNulty
A new contemporary Cajun restaurant in the works in Mid-City promises raw oysters, cocktails by the pitcher and so many different types of butcher shop specialties that meat is worked right into its name.
Amanda and Isaac Toups plan to open their Toups' Meatery (845 N. Carrollton Ave., phone n.a.) as early as mid-January in the restaurant space that was the long-time home of Mediterranean Café.
“The idea behind Isaac’s food is foie gras in shorts,” says his wife Amanda. “He's worked in fine dining for so long and really what we want to do now is great food but in a setting where you could come in wearing shorts.”
Originally from Rayne, La., a small town on the Cajun prairie, Isaac Toups has had a long run in local fine-dining circles, including time at Emeril’s and Emeril’s Delmonico. He was later executive chef at the now-closed Cuvee and had a short stint as the first chef at Ste. Marie. Amanda Toups was previously manager of the Wine Institute of New Orleans (a.k.a. WINO), the Warehouse District retail shop.
The menu will include plates of house-made meats ranging from boudin and cracklin’s to lomo and capicola, plus dishes like fried shrimp Caesar salads with cornbread courtons and oysters with tomato and cucumber migonette. About half the entrees will be sandwiches, Amanda Toups says.
The restaurant will be the roost for another familiar face from the local dining scene: Larry Nguyen, formerly manager of Café Minh, will run bar at Toups’ Meatery.
That will be a full bar, with specialties in bourbon flights paired with the menu and cocktails like mint juleps or bloody Marys served by the pitcher to share around the table.
Toups says they plan to serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday.
“We’re really excited to be coming to that neighborhood, and the response so far from people coming by has been great,” she says.
Mediterranean Cafe, a low-key Middle Eastern restaurant, had been at the location for many years, starting in a small storefront and later adding a bar and expanding to take up the entire corner building. It closed earlier this year.
845 N. Carrollton Ave., phone n.a.