Blink and suddenly August is here. Summer is flying by once again. Where does the time go? But time is relative, and for New Orleans restaurants this is when time slows to a crawl.
There's a lot of summer left. Visitors are harder to find and even the normally voracious locals need some buttering up to dine out.
Well, sure enough, a lot of restaurants are bringing that butter to the table, with dining deals intended to keep the lights on and to keep their staff working.
Now don’t start playing your tiny violin of sympathy yet. The good times in New Orleans do roll long and strong, usually starting sometime around the Saints bye week and ending abruptly after the final brunch seating on Mother’s Day.
But the summer slump can be brutal and it typically doesn’t even reach bottom until sometime in September. Restaurants can’t just wait around for October. They need to get people in.
This brings the upside for New Orleans diners and those intrepid visitors you do see here and there, the ones who must’ve booked their bachelorette parties without considering the “feels like” factor of our heat. These hot months are filled with different, often offbeat restaurant options.
Coolinary is the biggest and best-known, with its set price menus served throughout August. 115 restaurants are on board this year, a record. Across this range, they interpret the Coolinary deals in different ways, with brunch options, drink specials, old classics and inventive new riffs from their kitchens.
Plenty of other restaurants whip up special themed dinners, bring in guest chefs or otherwise mix it up. They can be as memorable as any meal served through the year, right here in deepest summer.
At the very least, they bring some enticing excuses to convene some friends, maybe those you’ve been promising to catch up with during all those busier months. After all, if we’re all in this hot, slog together, I say it’s best to be together around the table too.