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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- If you're looking to open a restaurant, New Orleans appears to be the place to do it.

According to state records, last year the city had the biggest spike in food permit openings in half a decade. However, the number of closures also packed a punch.

'This is one of the revolving doors we've had in New Orleans,' said Michael Brewer, owner of The Sammich.

10 weeks ago, the business opened its doors on Maple Street, moving from a smaller Mid-City kitchen inside Chickie Wah Wah.

Over the years, other restaurants at the same Uptown address haven't been so lucky. Brewer believes he's got the recipes -- packed in French bread --- to keep you coming back.

'We take things that you get at Emeril's, Commander's Palace, August, Domenica and all the great restaurants in New Orleans and we try and put that in something you can hold in your hand,' said Brewer.

'You'll see places that get a crush of business in the first few weeks because it's been all over the blogs and people twittered about it,' said New Orleans Advocate restaurant writer Ian McNulty.

New Orleanians love their food. McNulty said that's helping fuel a restaurant-opening craze in hot spots like Freret Street, St. Claude Avenue, the Bywater and other parts of the city.

'It wasn't known as a dining destination at all. Now you can park your car and walk to a circuit of restaurants,' said McNulty, 'For new places to stand out it can be a challenge. They have to have everything lined up very well and this is a business there are lots of moving parts.'

While many new eateries are opening, they're also closing. According to food permit data from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, last year Orleans Parish saw 330 new food permits while 281 (or 82 percent of new permits that same year) closed.

In 2012, 288 new permits were issued, while 187 (or 64 percent) closed.

In 2011, 238 new permits were issued, while 176 (or 73 percent) closed.

In 2010, 227 new permits were issued, while 155 (or 68 percent) closed.

And five years ago, 290 new permits were issued while 188 closed (or 64 percent).

'I saw 20,000 people eating poboys that you can only get there. I said you know this is something we should have every day,' said Brewer.

A restaurant vision born during Oak Street Poboy Festival just a few years back is one Brewer hopes will continue to draw in a steady flow of hungry patrons.

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