by Scott Gold
The Broken Egg has its humble origins as a simple, casual eatery in on Girod St. in Old Mandeville in the Spring of 1994, with a focus and breakfast and lunch. It became popular. Very popular. Soon enough, the ownership decided to expand, first with a string of franchises along the Gulf Coast (particularly in the Destin area), and then throughout the nation.
Current franchises — all called "Another Broken Egg," aside from the original location in Mandeville — can be found all throughout Florida and the Southeast, and as far afield as California and Washington D.C. However, while the chain boomed nationwide, there had been no expansion in the New Orleans market outside of the North Shore.
That, it seems, has changed. Hoosier Hospitality, an Indianapolis-based company headed by New Orleanian and Ruth's Chris vet Kevin Armantrout, is opening two brand new locations in the Crescent City. The first will be at 2917 Magazine St., formerly the home of Cafe Rani and, for a brief time, La Fin Du Monde, with a planned opening date of January 27th.
"It's a natural place for us," said Armantrout. "It has a great courtyard, where we think people will really enjoy themselves. And we’re actually piloting a dinner program in this location, too, which will be great. We’re going to be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays to serve dinner in both locations. The chain is a breakfast and lunch concept, but we wanted to branch out."
Not that you won't still be able to get breakfast for dinner, Armantrout notes. "The dinner menu will have many of our breakfast items, and some Southern flair to it. We’re doing a redfish, etouffee, red beans and rice, and so on. But you can always get your Bananas Foster french toast, Eggs Sardou, or our lobster and brie omelette. And, of course, there will be a full bar. We use vodka infused with peppers, radishes and herbs for our bloody mary.”
Another franchise, at 607 Harrison Ave. in Lakeview (formerly the Gingerbread Caffe) is slated to open two weeks later, on Feb. 10th.
"I worked at the Steak Knife many years ago and lived in Lakeview for many years," Armantrout said. "It’s a great neighborhood that fits our concept, similar to the original location, where people eat, shop, and go to school all in their own neighborhood. We really want to be part of the community, which is important to us personally, and important to our brand as well.”
That dedication to giving back to the community is also evident in Armantrout's support of Cafe Reconcile, of which Kevin's brother, Glen Armantrout, is the CEO. Another Broken Egg will be participating in a program hiring graduates to work in both new locations, as well as donating a portion of its opening proceeds to the teaching restaurant. Armantrout also hopes to bolster the local economy on top of that by employing 75-80 workers between the two eateries.
As for the cuisine, expect a vast menu that embraces both the Broken Egg brand as well as a New Orleans accent. Uptown and Lakeview residents can look forward to "biscuit beignets" with honey marmalade, monster cinnamon rolls, burgers and sandwiches, specialty salads, and dozens of other options.