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Warehouse Grille

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Before Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures, the blocks surrounding Warehouse Grille (869 Magazine St., 504-322-2188; www.warehousegrille.com) were mostly long-neglected industrial spaces.

  The neighborhood is now filled with new residents. The Warehouse Grille opened last March to serve the growing community.

  "We're a neighborhood bar and grill with a focus on local, repeat business," says general manager Jeff Bordelon. "If you look around [Warehouse Grille], we're surrounded on all four sides by residences. This is a place where people now look to go on Saturday and Sunday for brunch; this is their spot to get boiled crawfish on the weekend, to get a pint after work. That's really how we designed it — to be like your living room, where you know everybody and they know you."

  Open morning, noon and night seven days a week, Warehouse Grille's kitchen offers a menu that's more than bar food and burgers. Chef Donald Julien developed the culinary concept for Warehouse Grille, which offers everything from seafood to salad with an emphasis on inventive local cuisine.

  Dishes include duck crepes, praline cheesecake and Creole rice balls made with Gulf shrimp. Julien created a syrup infused with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to accompany the chicken and waffles, which is offered for $2 on Thursdays as part of a list of daily specials that includes steak night on Tuesdays, when a 10-ounce steak with sides costs $12 and bottles of wine are half price.

  Hefty burgers lure regulars back. The BFBE Burger includes a 10-ounce patty, four onion rings, four strips of bacon, one over-easy egg, Monterey Jack, cheddar and American cheeses and traditional dressings between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Bordelon says a hangover remedy comes in the Morning After burger: a 10-ounce patty on a jalapeno-cheese sourdough bun topped with an egg, onion rings, bacon and cheese.

  Forty taps pour select and seasonal beers, such as Abita's new winter-only Macchiato brew. Locals know nothing pairs with a cold beer like hot crawfish, and Bordelon anticipates an early start to Warehouse Grille's weekend crawfish boils this spring.

  "We have a huge courtyard perfect for crawfish boils," he says. "We're ready to host our neighborhood friends and new customers as soon as the crawfish — and the weather — are ready, too."

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