Many of the best restaurants in New Orleans have been in existence for decades, perhaps even more than a century. But some truly standout establishments have been able to make their mark even in a much shorter lifespan.
La Petite Grocery? It's a little of both. As so many buildings in the Crescent City do, it has a long and storied history. On the site in the late 1800s, a Creole-style cottage once was, indeed, home to a grocery, selling butters, teas, and locally grown rice and beans -- before the building burned down in 1908. But it rebuilt, larger and more successful than ever before. Fast forward a number of decades, and the current iteration of La Petite Grocery opened in March of 2004.
But it's the chef Justin Devillier who truly made the restaurant what it is. He's as highly accoladed as they come, winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South in 2016; 2014’s “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine; and a “Chef to Watch” by the Times-Picayune, as far back as 2008. Joining the team in 2004 as a line cook, he quickly ascended to the position of executive chef and then, together with his wife Mia Devillier, took majority ownership in 2010.
But enough history. While the restaurant exudes a nostalgic, old New Orleans vibe, you're really here to eat. To feast on Blue Crab Beignets, with a malt vinegar aioli; on Turtle Bolognese, with bucatini, sherry, and fried soft boiled egg; and the Panéed Rabbit, with spaetzle, wilted greens, turnip purée, and sauce grenobloise.
If you're hosting an event where the guests will truly appreciate good food -- thoughtful, New Orleans-inspired but wildly creative, and just plain impressive -- La Petite Grocery is ideal. The space can host 80 for seated dinner in a buyout, or 100 for a standing reception. Intimate, friendly, and above all, delicious.
[Photo: La Petite Grocery]