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Where Y’Eat: Burger Proximity a New Orleans Problem for Fitness Goals

 The namesake Company Burger at the Freret Street restaurant.
Ian McNulty
The namesake Company Burger at the Freret Street restaurant.

New Year’s resolutions have a way of getting kicked down the road in New Orleans. Carnival begins just a few days after the calendar flips and Carnival is an awful lot for resolutions to compete with if they’re the usual types about eating lighter, living healthier, perhaps getting more fit.

Now Mardi Gras has passed, many of us are probably feeling just a bit penance-worthy.

But I’ve noticed a problematic pattern. And I noticed it at the gym.

I go to the Anytime Fitness location on Canal Street because it is the closest gym to my house and also (perhaps subliminally) because it is flanked by cemeteries, a reminder of why exercise is important anyway.

And there, past all the weights and treadmills, I stare temptation in the face. Because right across the street is Beachcorner Bar & Grill , and its neon sign is quite enough to trigger cravings for its classic bar burger, all thick and loose ground and char-edged.

At first, I found this particular placement of resolution and temptation an amusing coincidence. But then I started looking a little closer.

There’s a saying that three examples make a trend. Well, the number of gyms I found at arms-length of seriously tempting food far exceeds a trend; it is a full-blown phenomenon in this town.

In the balance of the carrot and stick — the stick being fear of health problems, the carrot being improved fitness — these places are dangling a cheeseburger in front of a carrot.

For instance, the Anytime Fitness on Freret Street shares a parking lot with the Company Burger. On Harrison Avenue in Lakeview, there’s a Snap Fitness that practically shares a wall with Junior’s home to a very fine smash burger, double-stacked, oozing cheese, and Lakeview Burgers and Seafood is a block away.

Back in Mid-City, there’s an Orangetheory Fitness next to Frey Smoked Meat Co., whose smoked meat paints the air with its aroma.

I’m not aware of a gym very close to Port of Call, that burger standard-bearer. But I have seen people jogging down Esplanade Avenue past its door, and I know they smelled the burgers cooking within and, believe me, I know what they’re thinking.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.