Restaurant news: Big Cheezy at Dragon’s Den, plus news at Jack and Jake’s and Balise

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The Big Cheezy will serve specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese fries at the Dragon's Den beginning Oct. 1. - COURTESY THE BIG CHEEZY
  • COURTESY THE BIG CHEEZY
  • The Big Cheezy will serve specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese fries at the Dragon's Den beginning Oct. 1.

Frenchmen Street's late-night munchie offerings may have met their match. Mid-City's grilled cheese joint The Big Cheezy (422 1/2 S. Broad St., 540-302-2598), is moving into the space at Dragon’s Den (435 Esplanade Ave., 504-940-5546) starting Oct. 1, the owners said. 

The Broad Street sandwich and tomato soup hawkers are replacing Korean food vendor Seoul Shack, which opened inside the Esplanade Avenue bar last fall. That business is moving to a new spot on St. Claude Avenue, the exact location of which is still unknown.

The grilled cheese crew will set up shop inside the bar as a “permanent pop-up,” said Adam York, who opened the flagship location earlier this year with partner Josh Fogarty.

“We felt like grilled cheese was a great late-night bar food … and Frenchmen is always a really fun crowd,” York said.

The menu at the Dragon’s Den will be a streamlined version of the one at Mid-City, including the Mac’n’ Cheezy and the Crazy Old Goat. The team is adding a few new items to the mix, such as a sloppy joe grilled cheese and a selection of loaded cheese fries, York said. "We’ll have bacon, cheddar, peppers, all that fun stuff,” York says. "We’ll get as crazy as they want us to be.”

No changes are afoot at the Mid-City location, but York says Creole Creamery milkshakes will be available there soon. 

The restaurant inside the Dragon's Den will be open Thursdays to Mondays, from 5 p.m. to late. 

The opening of Central City grocer Jack & Jake’s Public Market (1307 O.C. Haley Blvd.) may have hit another setback: employees with the company confirmed this week that founder John Burns has stepped down as CEO.

The 30,000-square-foot “food hub” inside the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School is expected to feature two-full service restaurants, an oyster bar, two specialty butchers, a cheese cave and a fresh produce stand spanning an entire city block.

The store, aimed at bringing fresh and affordable food to Central City residents, was originally slated to open a year ago. In May, Burns said the store on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard would be opening “very soon,” but operators at the long-delayed project now predict a fall opening for the store.

Benjamin Warnke, a partner in the company, is serving as acting CEO while a national search is underway for Burns’ replacement.

Burns and Warnke did not immediately respond to calls for comment. 

Warehouse District hotspot Balise (640 Carondelet St., 504-459-4449) quietly added brunch service last week. Chef Justin Devillier's menu includes staples from the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus (cheeseburger with comeback sauce, pickled quail eggs, CBD Cobb salad) as well as a host of egg and brunch favorites.

Pain perdu comes with chicory butter, pecan crumble and cane syrup glaze; braised beef cheeks are served with pepper relish, pearl onions and a smoked poached egg; buttermilk biscuits are topped with black truffle gravy and tarragon scrambled eggs.

Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.  View the brunch menu on the restaurant's website here. 

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