Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (2023)

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (1)

Ward Harrison and his business associates opened the original Bourbon Street Cafe on Cherry Street in Tulsa in 1996 because they wanted a little taste of home.

"My wife is from Houston, and there's a lot of Cajun and Creole cuisine in this part of Texas," Harrison said. "We first came to Tulsa in 1992 to open Jason's Delis here. There weren't many Cajun or Creole restaurants in Tulsa, so we decided to open one ourselves."

The original restaurant, which was located in the space now occupied by SMOKE on Cherry Street, was an instant hit with local diners and earned three and a half stars from the Tulsa World (which had a zero-to-four star system at the time ). . The concept was so successful that a second location opened in Oklahoma City's Bricktown neighborhood in 2000.

However, the Tulsa Bourbon Street Cafe closed in 2008. "We signed a 10-year lease, and when it came out, the rent went up and the business stalled," Harrison said. "So we just decided to shut down."

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The Oklahoma City location continues to grow, and David Southard, who started as a server after opening the Tulsa location and is now a partner in the firm, said during his years working primarily in Oklahoma City, “We're always been asked, "When are you reopening in Tulsa?"

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (2)

"I think it was something we always intended to do," Harrison said. "I think the pandemic and all the changes that the industry has brought has been kind of a reset for us to really think about coming back to Tulsa. It helped that 2021 was the best year ever for restaurants in Oklahoma City , so we started looking around.

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"We met Jeff Scott, the owner of this property, and we were really impressed," he said. "We knew it was a perfect fit for our concept."

The new Bourbon Street Cafe is downtown at the corner of Second Street and Detroit Avenue, in an area where Blue Dome Market and Bodega were last. The interior is kept in black and white - white tables and walls with black chairs, banquettes and fittings. Pictures of jazz artists and scenes from New Orleans adorn some walls, and jazz films and music videos are shown on three flat-screen TVs.

The bar on the west side of the building has a stage with live music from Thursday to Sunday. The restaurant has a relatively short wine list, but an impressive selection of craft cocktails, including NOLA staples like the Hurricane and Sazerac, and a quartet of bourbon flights.

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (3)

The menu includes many dishes that lovers of the original restaurant will surely remember.

"It's pretty much the same menu we have in Oklahoma City," Harrison said. "There are a few differences because it's a much smaller space than what we have in Oklahoma City. But all the food that people remember and expect can be found here."

Over several visits, we decided to focus on a few classic New Orleans creations as well as a few signature offerings at Bourbon Street Cafe.

A recent item is the Bon Ton ($25), chicken breast breaded and fried then topped with shrimp and crabmeat in a somewhat citrusy sauce that was billed as "Alfredo" but tasted more like beurre blanc accompanied by another dish. Whatever it was, the sauce certainly brightened up the undercooked broccoli that was the "vegetable of the season" on the plate; the garlic mashed potato was light on garlic but flavorful on its own and creamy enough to need a little boost.

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (4)

The chicken itself had a golden brown skin that neither the sauce nor the seafood could dampen, but both the crust and the chicken could use some seasoning. Fried prawns and crabmeat were impeccable.


Beurre blanc sauce was also part of the crab cake ($22). The words "crab cake" usually conjure up something baked or at least fried, but the Bourbon Street Cafe version is more of a baked crab filling, with lots of crab held together by the thinnest of binders. The scattered small crayfish tails around the mound were described as "sorted" but showed no evidence of such a procedure.

We also tried one of the po'boys with fried shrimp as a main filling ($13 - catfish, crawfish and alligators, fried or blackened, are also available), along with crayfish étouffée ($20), with Calamari Royale ($17) as a starter.

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (5)

Small octopus rings and tentacles are served on Creole tomato sauce with large chunks of tomato and onion. The calamari itself was on the tough side, which was to be expected, but the sauce was pleasantly spicy and had us clearing our plate.

However, the étouffée and sandwich were not as satisfying. The etouffee contained more than a healthy portion of crayfish, but the sauce lacked the depth and complexity expected of this dish. It was more of a mild brown sauce.

The po'boy, which comes dressed in lettuce, pickled onions and red pepper aioli, was so loaded with fried shrimp you couldn't lift it. The fact that a regular roll was used instead of the baguette used in New Orleans only made things more difficult. On the plus side, everything about the sandwich was tasty - the shrimp were sweet, the breading crispy, the spices cooked through, the aioli giving the shrimp and vegetables a peppery bite.

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (6)

Bourbon Street Cafe is planning a full day of events for Fat Thursday, February 21st. Artists such as Charlie Redd, Big Bad Brass Band and Randall Shreve will perform in the bar, while jugglers, magicians, belly dancers and acrobats will perform in and around the restaurant.

"Fat Tuesday was always a crazy time when we first opened," says Harrison's wife, Dyana. We hope to resume that tradition this year.

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (7)

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Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (8)

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (9)

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (10)

Back on Bourbon Street: The NOLA-inspired restaurant returns after a 15-year absence (11)


211 E. Second St.


Mad:3 stars

Employ:4 stars

Atmosphere:4 stars

(on a scale of 0 to 5 stars)

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Vegetarian/vegan options: No

10:30 - 22:00 Monday Thursday; 10:30 - 23:00 Friday Saturday; 10.00-22.00 Sunday. All major credit cards are accepted.



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Why is it called Bourbon Street? ›

The street dates back to 1718, when New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. French engineer Adrien de Pauger laid out the streets of New Orleans in 1721 and chose one to carry the name of the French royal family ruling at the time, Rue Bourbon.

What is Bourbon Street famous for? ›

Bourbon Street (French: Rue Bourbon, Spanish: Calle de Borbón) is a historic street in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Extending thirteen blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, Bourbon Street is famous for its many bars and strip clubs.

How long is Bourbon Street in miles? ›

It is a hike of approximately just over 2 miles. At a good clip it will take you 30 minutes or so. Don't do the walk at night as between Lee Circle and Canal it can get a little sketchy after dark (homeless).

Can you drive down Bourbon Street? ›

During the day, Bourbon Street is open to vehicular traffic. You can drive your car down the road and see all the bars and clubs that attract people at night.

Can I drink on Bourbon Street? ›

In New Orleans, you're legally allowed to consume alcohol on the street, and on Bourbon, it's standard practice. A large number of bars on the strip aren't even bars, they're just cubbyholes from which vendors sling drinks of all kinds in plastic cups called "go-cups."

What is the most famous part of Bourbon Street? ›

Upper Bourbon is the area best known to visitors — the land of lots of neon, roaming bachelor and bachelorette parties, strip clubs, and enormous drinks served in souvenir cups. Lower Bourbon has most of the above, but not in such intense concentration; it includes the LGBTQ blocks of Bourbon.

What is the most popular drink in New Orleans? ›

A Sazerac from The Sazerac Bar

Widely considered America's first mixed drink, the Sazerac is easily one of New Orleans' most iconic cocktails. Whether you prefer rye whiskey, cognac or bourbon, no Sazerac is complete without absinthe, Peychaud's Bitters and a twist of lemon.

What is the official drink of New Orleans? ›

Officially the Official Drink of New Orleans

After 150+ years and who knows how many Sazerac Cocktails later, it was time to make it official. In 2008, the state of Louisiana passed legislation that made the Sazerac Cocktail the official cocktail of New Orleans.

What is the famous New Orleans drink on Bourbon Street? ›

The creation of the Sazerac has been credited to Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a Creole apothecary who emigrated to New Orleans in the early 19th century. Peychaud's bitter, licorice-tinged drink was crowned the official cocktail of New Orleans in 2008.

Can you walk on Bourbon Street with alcohol? ›

In New Orleans, it is legal to walk outside while holding an open container of alcohol. This is why drinkers on Bourbon Street can meander up and down the street carrying a plastic cup of their favorite beverage, stopping at takeout windows for refills.

What is the longest running bourbon distillery? ›

In Kentucky, buffalo carved a pathway that was followed by America's early pioneers. On the spot where the buffalo migration route crossed the Kentucky River, we've been making legendary bourbon whiskey for over 200 years. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America.

Should you stay on Bourbon Street or French Quarter? ›

For first-time visitors, it is better to stay in the French Quarter than downtown New Orleans. Staying right in the New Orleans French Quarter ensures a central location with easy access to many of the attractions in New Orleans. These include the nightlife on Bourbon Street, the Saenger theater on Canal Street, St.

How late can you drink on Bourbon Street? ›

Bars Can Stay Open 24/7

Bourbon Street bars are famous for their open door policies, allowing drinkers to spill in and out all day long and essentially extending the party into the streets.

Is it safe to walk in the French Quarter at night? ›

Don't Walk Around the Desolated Areas of the Quarter Late at Night. If you're asking yourself “is New Orleans safe?” you should know that although the French Quarter is very populated with tourists and is overall safe, the surrounding areas are not safe.

Can 18 year olds drink on Bourbon Street? ›

Drinking Laws -- The legal age for purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21; proof of age is required and often requested at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, so bring ID when you go out.

Can passengers drink alcohol in a car in Louisiana? ›

A. It shall be unlawful for the operator of a motor vehicle or the passenger in or on a motor vehicle, while the motor vehicle is operated on a public highway or right-of-way, to possess an open alcoholic beverage container, or to consume an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.

Can I walk with beer in New Orleans? ›

New Orleans is a unique city in the United States for many reasons, one of which is its lack of an open container law. Here you can drink alcohol on the street as long as it is not in a glass container.

Can 18 year olds drink with parents in Louisiana? ›

Louisiana is one of the states that has exceptions to the legal drinking age. Individuals under 21 are permitted to consume alcohol in their homes with and without parental consent while their parents are present or even not present.

What food is nola known for? ›

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  • Bananas Foster.

Where do locals go instead of Bourbon Street? ›

To this day, tour guides tell you that Frenchmen Street is an off the beaten gem, a 'local's Bourbon Street' where real New Orleanians gather to listen to live music and grab a drink.

Can you walk on Bourbon Street? ›

It is so famous that more bars in the world are named after it than after any other place. For the best experience, start your walk on Bourbon Street at Canal Street and walk north until you reach St. Philip. Along the way, you will see how the street's atmosphere changes.

What is the secret drink in New Orleans? ›

Sure, this firecracker of a drink will always play an important role in Nola drinking culture. However, nothing tops the Sazerac. Riddled with history, the Sazerac is a dark horse and a source of contention amongst drinks experts.

What do locals drink in New Orleans? ›

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  • The Sazerac. ...
  • Cafe Brulot Diabolique.

What is the oldest cocktail in New Orleans? ›

The Sazerac, created in New Orleans, may have been the world's first cocktail and is a favorite among whiskey drinkers. The original Sazerac was made with an imported French cognac that gave it its name: Sazerac de Forge et Fils.

What is America's oldest drink? ›

The Sazerac is considered by many to be America's oldest cocktail! Made with rye whiskey, Peychaud's bitters, absinthe, sugar, and a lemon peel, it's a true classic.

What is the red drink in New Orleans? ›

One of the most iconic cocktails in New Orleans is Pat O'Brien's Hurricane. The syrupy red drink was created during World War II when rum was plentifully available, and other liquors weren't. Whenever we go to New Orleans, our first stop is always Pat O'Brien's for a Hurricane, served in their souvenir hurricane glass.

What is New Orleans drinking age? ›

What is the current legal drinking age in Louisiana? The legal drinking age in Louisiana is 21. What counts as a violation of Louisiana's underage drinking laws?

What is the strongest drink in New Orleans? ›

Tropical Isle's Hand Grenade Drink is New Orleans Most Powerful Drink. From the French Quarter and beyond, the world famous Hand Grenade Drink from Tropical Isle® is New Orleans Most Powerful Drink®!

What liquor is unique to New Orleans? ›

Sazerac Rye Whiskey symbolizes the tradition and history of New Orleans dating back to the 1800's, when Antoine Amedie Peychaud, owner of a New Orleans apothecary, treated his friends to brandy toddies including his own secret family bitters recipe, "Peychaud's Bitters." In 1838, he made the toddies using a double- ...

What famous bar in New Orleans has the hurricane drink? ›

At Pat O'Brien's, Hurricanes are made with a mix of rum and Hurricane mix from the original recipe crafted in the 1940s. The drink is served in a distinctive glass stamped with the Pat O'Brien's logo. For tourists, these glasses are sought-after souvenirs of New Orleans.

What do you wear on Bourbon Street at night? ›

I recommend wearing something light and comfortable like a tank dress or romper. Bourbon Street is notoriously dirty, and the streets are cobblestone, so I wouldn't wear your favorite designer shoes or stilettos. I suggest wearing flat sandals or sneakers, so you can dance all night without worrying about your shoes.

Can you smoke in bars on Bourbon Street? ›

Smoking AND vaping is banned INSIDE all bars (and casinos) in New Orleans. Smoking on bar patios, courtyard, balconies, and outdoor areas is still allowed.

Is it safe to go to Bourbon Street at night? ›

While on Bourbon Street, you're likely not going to be at much risk. However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and keep your wallet and other valuables close to you. Don't allow yourself to be an easy target. Avoid alleys and shady side streets that don't have visibility.

What is the oldest brand of bourbon? ›

Maker's Mark has the oldest bourbon distillery in the world, while Jack Daniel's is the oldest registered distillery in America.

What is the largest selling bourbon in the world? ›

Founded in 1795 and passed down through one family for the past seven generations, Jim Beam is the world's best-selling bourbon.

What is the oldest whiskey in the US? ›

Old Overholt is America's oldest continually maintained brand of whiskey, was founded in West Overton, Pennsylvania, in 1810. Old Overholt is a rye whiskey distilled by A. Overholt & Co., currently a subsidiary of Beam Suntory, which is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan.

Where do celebrities stay in New Orleans? ›

One of the South's first luxury hotels, The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel's legendary past dates back to 1893. Numerous iconic celebrities, athletes, presidents and royalty from around the world have all graced the property.

Can you drink on the street in the French Quarter? ›

Uptown, Magazine Street, Mid-City, the Warehouse District, and nearby Frenchman Street all have wonderful places to eat, listen to some local music, and grab a drink. However, drinking in public is only legal in the French Quarter.

What time of day is best for Bourbon Street? ›

Some people prefer to visit Bourbon Street during the day, because it feels safer to be out in the daylight. It's not quite as crazy at it is at night, but it's still plenty wild in the afternoon. So don't be shy about doing some daytime bar hopping when you're in New Orleans!

Can you drink with parents in New Orleans? ›

Underage Drinking: Underage Consumption of Alcohol

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S): private residence. OR parent/guardian. OR spouse.

Does New Orleans sell alcohol on Sundays? ›

Most parishes don't restrict alcohol sales on Sundays, with several parishes banning alcohol sales from bars on Sundays.

What time do they stop selling alcohol in Louisiana? ›

Currently, the law states Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. till 2 a.m., you can purchase alcohol. Sundays though, bars are closed and those authorized to sell booze can do so beginning at 11 a.m.

Where is the safest place to stay in New Orleans? ›

The safest places to stay in New Orleans are the French Quarter, the Central Business District, the Arts/Warehouse District, and the Garden District.

Is the 7th Ward in New Orleans safe? ›

Roch, the Lower 9th Ward, Desire, Holy Cross neighborhood and the 7th Ward, have the highest rate of major violent crime in the last six months. In the 7th District, 209 violent crimes have been reported since Jan. 1, 2021. The 5th District reported 138.

Is nola safe to walk at night? ›

Is it safe to walk in New Orleans at night? Certain parts of New Orleans are safe to walk at night, such as well-lit, busy streets. However, most parts are not safe to walk in New Orleans at night, so stick to taking taxis.

Are there 18 clubs in nola? ›

18 and over

Some of the city's most popular clubs and music venues allow visitors ages 18 and older. If you're into rock and blues, head to the Howlin' Wolf in the Warehouse District. For live music and dancing with some of NOLA's biggest music legends, visit Tipitina's in the Garden District.

Can I drink with my parents at 18? ›

In 45 states, laws allow underage drinking in certain situations. In 29 states, someone under 21 may drink with their parent's permission if it's in a private residence or on private property. Six states allow someone under 21 to drink on private property without their parent's consent.

Can you get into bars on Bourbon Street at 18? ›

Yea, you can get into most bars in New Orleans, but you cannot drink. I know Bourbon St. is still 18 and up.

Is bourbon named after the House of Bourbon? ›

Most experts believe Bourbon County has the strongest claim to the founding of the drink's name. But a lot of the references of bourbon still date all the way back to the House of Bourbon family. And Bourbon Street is practically synonymous with the drink nowadays.

Why is bourbon associated with New Orleans? ›

New Orleans is closely connected with America's only native spirit. Kentucky may be the birthplace of this distinctly American Spirit, but it was New Orleans who serendipitously helped develop the aging process that produces the bourbon we know and love.

Why is bourbon associated with Kentucky? ›

The whiskey rebellion started in 1794, an uprising in response to the 1791 Whiskey Excise Tax. The events encouraged distillers in Tennessee and Kentucky, which fueled bourbon in Kentucky since distillers didn't need to worry about this law at the time.

What is legally called bourbon? ›

Basically, the defining factor that makes Bourbon a unique whiskey is the law. The Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon state determine what is and what isn't Bourbon. For a whiskey to be considered Bourbon, its mash – the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled – must contain at least 51% corn.

What is the oldest bourbon brand? ›

200 Years of Bourbon Making History

Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America.

What is the oldest bourbon family? ›

Maker's Mark has the oldest bourbon distillery in the world, while Jack Daniel's is the oldest registered distillery in America.

What bourbon has a man's name? ›

Evan Williams is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky, by the Heaven Hill company.

Why drink bourbon on the rocks? ›

Bourbon or any spirit served over ice is referred to as "on the rocks." If you're new to the bourbon game, this can help tame it down and make it easier to acclimate yourself to drinking this spirit. However, taming it down a bit also waters down the flavors, diminishing the experience.

Why is bourbon not called whiskey? ›

Bourbon is made with at least 51% corn

What makes bourbon distinct from other whiskeys is the way it is manufactured and aged. All whiskey is spirit made from fermented grain and then aged in barrels. But the kind of grain and the kind of barrels determines the variety of whiskey.

Did Cowboys drink bourbon? ›

In addition to whiskey, cowboys also favored bourbon due to its sweetness and higher alcohol content.

Why is Jack Daniels not a bourbon? ›

A bourbon must be distilled at no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume. Jack is well under that. It comes over the still at 140 proof, or 70% alcohol.

What is the biggest selling spirit in the world? ›

According to International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), which ranks the world's largest spirits brands by volume annually, for the past 20 years, Jinro Soju has been the world's best-selling spirit brand, outselling competitors such as Stolichnaya, Bacardi, and Johnnie Walker.

What is the bourbon capital of the world? ›

Bardstown is the Bourbon Capital of the World, with the greatest concentration of Bourbon distilleries in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Downtown Bardstown was once voted the Most Beautiful Small Town in America. Bardstown Distilleries: Bardstown Bourbon Company.

What are the three types of bourbon? ›

Standard Bourbon: The bourbon meets the minimum requirements defined by the law. Kentucky Bourbon: The only difference between Standard and Kentucky bourbon is that it is made in Kentucky. Straight Bourbon: The bourbon is aged for more than two years in charred oak barrels.

Can it be called bourbon if not made in Kentucky? ›

Location – Bourbon can be made anywhere in the US. Only whiskey produced in the State of Kentucky can be called labeled Kentucky Straight Whiskey.

What do you call straight bourbon? ›

What it is: Two ounces of a single spirit served in an old-fashioned glass that's meant to be sipped—no chilling, no ice or any other mixers. Usually used on Whiskey or Brandy, both commonly drunk at room temperature. Say: “I'll have a Whiskey neat, please.” Up.


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