The Milk Bar (1514 Delachaise St., 504-891-9361) is a small but exceptional eatery serving sandwiches, soups and salads just off St. Charles Avenue by Touro Infirmary. It is so popular with college students that the owners opened a second Milk Bar (710 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-309-3310) within walking distance of Loyola and Tulane's campuses.
"University kids were half our business," says Kevin Phayer, the British native who runs the Milk Bar with his Australian-born wife Inta Phayer. "We decided to go closer to the customers who are coming to us and maybe make it easier for our customers from the hospital to get a quick lunch."
The Phayers first opened the Milk Bar in the 1990s at a spot near Charity Hospital. They sold the business and moved to Australia, but when a yen for the New Orleans lifestyle brought them back a few years later they reopened the Milk Bar in the same spot. That same month, floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina wrecked it, but they later resurrected the place on Delachaise Street.
Both shops serve the same menu, which entails a different soup daily, a few salads and an original and idiosyncratic approach to sandwiches, which are made on oversized round loaves of ciabatta. One called the "wolf me down" combines roasted lamb, hummus and spinach and the "speared pig" includes asparagus, ham and hollandaise. You can get roasted chicken with sour cream, mozzarella and a chunky, bright-red, spicy-sweet sauce called Thai chili that is a staple of Australian gastropub grub. The Milk Bar serves a basic breakfast menu of bagels and croissant sandwiches, plus milkshakes, smoothies and coffee drinks.
The new Milk Bar is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The original location keeps the same hours Monday to Friday.