Traveling Tidbits

Cafes of NOLA

Okay, I’ll be honest that I had every intention to visit Café Dumonde in the French Quarter of New Orleans and write about my experience. However, something you must know is that I’m not always the most patient person and the minute I see a long line, I’m out. And if you intend to go to Café Dumonde, expect a long line unless it’s 2am on a weekday. Now, it might not have been totally unpleasant, as they had a street jazz band performing for the customers, but the heat is not something I want to suffer in. With no estimated wait time advertised and only two hours of paid parking available and more places to visit during my quick daytrip to NOLA, I couldn’t risk it. At a later date, when I have an entire day to burn and $50 in parking fees to pay, I’ll make sure to visit and write a more detailed review.

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Instead, I’ll list some of the alternative options for coffee houses within the French Quarter that you can give a try. This is more of a cursory list with just a brief overview, as I haven’t tried these places personally. This is also, by no means, a complete list. I’m listing just the locations between Esplanade Avenue, North Rampart Street, Decatur, and Canal Street. All of these are within decent walking distance and you can take a stroll through the French Quarter on your way.

First, you’ll want to park behind the French Market between the Mississippi River and Decatur Street. Other landmark locations would be Jackson Square just across the street from the parking location and the old train tracks that now service the famous cable cars. Parking for just 2 hours is $13 and up, so be prepared for the sticker-shock.

Spitfire Coffee – Facing Jackson Square from Decatur, there’s a pedestrian-only road that takes you to St. Peter Street. Not one block away, you’ll find Spitfire Coffee on the right side of the street. They are open every day from 9am to 4pm. Here’s what their website says:

“Spitfire Coffee opened in 2013 as one of the first specialty coffee shops in New Orleans. Since then, the “Third Wave” has cascaded over New Orleans’ neighborhoods with a number of amazing coffee shops opening across town. We are a proud Multi-Roaster, carrying a smattering of the greatest coffees the country has to offer. We feel that the coffee world is in the throws of a revolution, therefore we write everything in pencil, always trying to improve upon yesterday. Right now we present our coffees as Espresso, Cold Brew, and V60 Pour-overs. We take our time to ensure every drink we make represents the painstaking effort of the farmers, pickers, and roasters that have gone into every bean on our shelves. We hope you have the patience for a few extra minutes to fully enjoy each cup.”

In Covid, they’re currently operating their to-go window and offering a wide selection of the typical coffees and espressos, as well as some signature drinks like their “Cuban” Cortado.
Address: 627 St. Peter Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

PJ’s Coffee – This is a bigger southern coffee chain that I have experienced before and would definitely recommend. Again, if you’re starting at Jackson Square, to the left is the pedestrian street that ends at Chartres Street. Take a left onto Chartres and PJs will be on the left. They’re open every day between 9am – 3pm, and I suggest you purchase a bag of their Southern Wedding Cake coffee. It’s a unique, sweet coffee experience. They also offer pastry snacks that are typical of coffeehouses. Here’s what their website says:

“PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan, a pioneer in the coffee industry that demonstrated better beans, superior roasting techniques, and pure passion for the art of coffee-making mattered. PJ’s Coffee serves a wide variety of hot, iced and frozen coffee beverages, as well as organic tea and fresh breakfast pastries. PJ’s famous iced coffees are brewed daily using a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans, while producing a coffee that is 2/3 less acidic – a process pioneered by our founder. Bags of whole bean coffee and single serve cups of PJ’s Coffee are available for sale in-store and online.”

Address: 630 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: 504-267-4545

Café Beignet – There are four of these around the French Quarter, one at 622 Canal Street, 600 Decatur Street, 311 Bourbon Street, and 334 Royal Street. This hometown chain has a little more to offer than the previous two in the way of food. Advertised as having New Orleans’ Best Beignets, they’re in direct competition with Café Dumonde. They offer basic coffee selections, but have a bigger breakfast and lunch menu for each location, including breakfast sandwiches, omelets, French Toast, some standard Cajun cuisine like gumbo, red beans and rice, muffaletta, and jambalaya.

The closest Café Beignet to the parking lot is further south on Decatur street (continue past Jackson Square to the left and away from Café Dumonde) and it’ll be on the corner of Decature and Toulouse Street. Here’s what their website says:

“Café Beignet was established by a small group of close friends in 1990 at 334 Royal Street. These friends had a dream of intertwining the New Orleans and French café traditions through their business. A family-oriented restaurant, we take pride in our beignets, coffee, and food, striving to bring the best to our customers. The official doughnut of Louisiana, our beignets are always served fresh, hot, and cooked to order. They have a crispy outside and a soft, sweet center. Served in an order of three, beignets are topped with powdered sugar and are best paired with a cup of café au lait (coffee with milk). Our coffee is sourced locally from roasters with over 30 years of experience roasting their own blends. Café Beignet is proud to continue the tradition of serving Chicory Coffee, first introduced by the French to New Orleans when it was still a colony of France. Chicory is a plant that is roasted through a similar process as coffee beans. Coffee and chicory are grounded separately and then combined, resulting in a most unique taste. New Orleanians have developed a love for its bolder flavor and we hope you will too! Since 1990, Café Beignet has four locations in the French Quarter with another on the way. Each of our locations offers something unique to its visitors, including live jazz, cocktails, outdoor seating (with pet friendly areas), and classic New Orleans dishes to complement our beignets.”

Café Conti – As the name suggests, you can find this one on Conti Street on the block between Bourbon, Dauphine, and Bienville Streets. This is inside the Prince Conti hotel, but is not exclusive to hotel guests. They advertise that they specialize in breakfast faire. Set in a room fit for NOLA royalty, you can dine in style. By the pictures, this is better suited for a sit-down, take your time and enjoy it, sort of café experience. They are open every day from 7am – 12pm. Looks like eggs benedict, French toast, and various omelets are their specialties, but their website doesn’t provide much of a menu to browse. I’d suggest looking through the pictures uploaded by other travelers on Google Maps.
Address: 830 Conti Street
Phone: 504-636-1060

St. Pat’s Irish Coffeehouse – Straying a little farther from Jackson Square, you’ll find St. Pat’s just southeast of Burgundy Street along Conti Street and behind the Irish Cultural Museum. St. Pat’s is a cozy little “hole in the wall” sort of joint (what business in the French Quarter isn’t?) that sells both coffee and booze, true to Irish style. They offer a little indoor seating at the bar, but also a welcoming outdoor courtyard on those nice days when it’s just a shame to stay indoors. Their coffee men is standard, but their liquor menu is characteristically Irish. It’d be a lovely stop for any Ireland enthusiasts.

  “Step out of the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter to discover a hidden emerald gem located in the historic New Orleans French Quarter, blocks from world famous Bourbon Street and the St. Louis Cemeteries. Come relax in our serine courtyard with family and friends, and enjoy a homemade Irish Coffee or sample a flight of unique Irish Whiskeys.  St. Pat’s Irish Coffeehouse is a local family owned and operated coffeehouse and whiskey bar offering traditional New Orleans Irish Cocktails, Irish Whiskeys, beer and Cider, and gourmet expresso drinks using locally sourced ingredients and Irish products. Don’t miss out on an authentic New Orleans Irish experience typically found among locals, Irish Pubs, and traditional coffeehouses. A place where the young and old, family and friend, can share their experiences and stories. St. Pat’s will leave you with a special awareness of the local Irish history and the characters that define our City. As we say “There are no strangers just friends we have yet to meet”.”

Address: 933 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: 504-481-8593

Envie Espresso Bar & Café – Another café along Decatur Street, Envie offers an expansive menu of breakfast dishes and specialties, as well as burgers and paninis for lunch/brunch. Their coffee selection is not as varied, but still contains all the typical favorites of coffee connoisseurs. Their aesthetic is ironically NOLA with their giant windows looking over Barracks Street and long, dark wood coffee bar that is reminiscent of the city’s French influences.

Hours: Sun-Thu 7am – 12am; Fri, Sat 7am – 1am
Address: 1241 Decatur St. New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: 504-524-3689

Café Fleur-de-Lis – Recommended by Envie as another café to visit, this place is another sit-down breakfast or lunch spot that also happens to serve a decent coffee menu. Located on Chartres Street, quite a ways from Jackson Square, this café doesn’t provide much of a history, but that’s made up for in the menu. Everything from French Toast, shrimp & grits, specialty omelets, and even seafood eggs benedict, this place seems to be the go-to for good southern style breakfasts. Their lunch menu, too, screams “NOLA” with an a variety of po-boys, gumbo, and crawfish etouffee just to name a few of the menu items. They’re open 7 days a week, 7am – 3pm.
Address: 307 Chartres st. New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: 504-529-9641

Again, this is just a short list. If you Google “coffeehouses in New Orleans”, there are a slew more to wade through. If you visit one and want to share your experiences, comment below and share! I know I’ll be visiting a few of these on any trip back to the Crescent City, so I’m open to suggestions!

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