by Ian McNulty
Back in the days when air conditioning was new, New Orleans restaurants often advertised the cool comfort of their climate-controlled dining rooms as a lure for customers.
Post-Isaac, that vintage appeal is potent once again. While air conditioning remains a frustratingly longed-for memory for so many still awaiting the return of electricity in the sweltering city, restaurants that are fully powered are packing them in for a taste of comfort that goes beyond the food.
Just like residents, many restaurants around town are still waiting for electrical power to get back to normal, and you can believe they are just as eager for its return.
Even those where the lights are back on now may be contending with limited staff as employees still return to town and are offering only limited menus as suppliers catch up with deliveries.
Still, as many around the city move into day five with no power in their own homes, the simple promise of air conditioning, cold drinks and just about any kind of food that they didn’t have to fish from their own ice chests is welcome indeed.
A quick tour around some Mid-City stalwarts told the tale. There was a dining room full of people at Liuzza’s Restaurant & Bar glugging beer from the restaurant’s trademark frosted schooners and a block down the street Katie’s Restaurant has added “A/C” to its chalkboard signs that usually advertise daily specials. Meanwhile, down two more blocks at Mandina’s, the neon sign promising air conditioning, a holdover from the history of this 1930s-era restaurant, today seems just as timely as ever.