The Morning Call Coffee Stand (citywide; www.morningcallcoffeestand.com) has opened a cafe in City Park (www.neworleanscitypark.com), marking a new chapter for an institution with long roots and nostalgic ties in New Orleans.
The Morning Call got its start in 1870 in the French Market, where for more than 100 years it served coffee and beignets and competed with Cafe du Monde for the business of market shoppers and vendors. Morning Call relocated to Metairie in 1974. Over the summer, the cafe and City Park announced plans to open a Morning Call inside the park's Casino Building, the structure also known as the Timken Center, located behind the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
A grand opening is in the works, after which the cafe will operate 24 hours a day. Currently, the stand is keeping shorter hours that vary day to day. On a recent visit, however, the new Morning Call hardly felt new at all. With tile floors, marble counters, big steel coffee urns and an arch of bare light bulbs, it conjures images from historic photos of the original Morning Call, and it fits naturally in the old bones of the park's Casino Building. Cafe tables continue out on a veranda where columns frame views of the playground, a lagoon, Popp Bandstand and the Peristyle.
In addition to beignets and cafe au lait (plus iced and frozen versions), the City Park Morning Call serves a short menu with gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, beer and Irish coffee. It currently accepts cash only.