First a fictional character and later an iconic shorts style, the name Daisy Duke rings familiar even for those who have never set foot in the 24-hour breakfast spot Daisy Dukes (121 Chartres St., 504-561-5171; 123 Carondelet St., 504-522-2233; 5209 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 504-883-5513; www.daisydukesrestaurant.com). For his restaurant concept, owner and founder Robert Kagan wanted a Southern name no one would forget.
"When 'Daisy Dukes' came to mind, I knew it was the perfect name and I was correct about drawing attention," Kagan says. "After I trademarked the name, everyone and their mom wanted to use it in some capacity."
As a child, Kagan looked up to his grandmother, a business owner. His grandmother's financial independence enabled her to help his family when money was tight. "I equated independence with owning a business from a young age," Kagan says.
Kagan cashed in his 401(k) and signed the lease on the original location on Chartres Street shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Today, there are three Daisy Dukes in the New Orleans area, with another St. Charles Avenue location in the works.
Daisy Dukes has a casual, comfortable environment. Each location has bar and table seating. Children join their parents for late-night breakfasts or dinners while businessmen grab a bite before heading to the airport. Favorites on the menu of breakfast items and Southern fare include crawfish, gumbo, Cajun omelets and po-boys.
A slightly different model than the original, the new St. Charles Avenue location will focus on delivery, with dine-in service from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., unique breakfast items and a bloody mary bar.
Kagan and his team concocted the bloody mary mix years ago, and the special brew is now for sale in the restaurant, online, in six states and at many Rouses Supermarkets.
"When we won our first award for our bloody mary ... I decided it was time to bottle this gem," Kagan says. "One time we went up against a bunch of the most popular mixes in a blind tasting in a bloody mary challenge. Needless to say we won hands down — four out of five chose us in a blind taste test."