2011 brings major spike in new restaurants across N.O.

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 28 at 7:23 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- Adam Biderman spent years honing his craft in Atlanta, but several months ago, the Newman grad seized an opportunity to join a growing number of businesses -- especially restaurants -- on Freret Street.

"I wanted to be back. I wanted to be a part of something,” Biderman said. “Freret Street offered that chance."

Now, only a few months after opening his restaurant, The Company Burger, Biderman said he's serving up more than 300 burgers a day.

"Most exciting for me in the city is how we're embracing the traditional and, yet, craving and demanding and driving the new," he said.

According to food critic Tom Fitzmorris, the number of restaurants in the city exploded this year -- jumping from 1,128 last December to more than 1,236 now.

The numbers may seem surprising on paper, but Gambit food writer Ian McNulty said the addition of 100 new restaurants in one year is a continuation of a post-Katrina trend.

"It's part of the culture. It's part of the identity of this city,” he said. “So, the economics of the restaurant business are a little bit different here because of that."

McNulty said restaurants, new and old, seem to be enjoying the same advantages.

"It's tourists coming in. They come to New Orleans, they wanna eat. You know, you go to New York, you wanna see the big skyscrapers and see the shows. You go to New Orleans, you wanna gain five pounds. But it's the locals more than anything. The locals are what's sustaining this day in, day out," he said.

Chef Matthew Murphy, who opened The Irish House on St. Charles in August, agreed.

"It's been just busy, busy, busy,” Murphy said. “You know, once you have the local business, any of their friends visiting town, they all come on. So, I think a lot of people are just promoting the new businesses in the city."

Murphy points out that with new restaurants comes lots of new jobs in the city -- another positive found in this seemingly blossoming industry.

 

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