Katies in Mid City
3701 Iberville Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
True friendships to me should be everlasting. Therefore, one day recently I took the opportunity to revisit one of my old Saturday friendships, an eatery that was established in 1984. Katies in Mid City is that old-time corner restaurant/bar where regulars tend to meet up and new friendships are made. She is so special that she was featured in a segment on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. I was so happy for her! At Katie's, complete strangers pass your table smile, wave, nod or even verbally greet you with a hello. The chef comes by to check on you. This is what makes New Orleans and it is why it is one of the friendliest cities on this earth and a wonderful place to live and dine.
I was asked by an acquaintance to schedule a lunch and to decide where I would like to dine. After giving it some thought (you know I take my food seriously), my mind drifted back to my past. I had not visited Katies since it reopened in March of 2010 following its devastation from Hurricane Katrina. It was time that I checked on my old friend and rekindled an old relationship. I remember it as an eatery where all sorts of people would drift in and all sorts of activity going on. Remarkably it still is. There are many tables strategically placed in this narrow dwelling with many conversations going on, along with 2 flat screen televisions running sports coverage. All this while there is also a backdrop of piped in music. Conveniently located a block from the Canal Street streetcar, it could easily become and should be a regular tourist eatery attraction.
New Orleans's po-boy
We were directed to our table by the greeter at the door and handed an extensive menu by a very friendly waitress. If someone says they cannot find anything on the menu to suit their taste, they must not be in Katies. Truthfully, I could probably make a meal from the appetizers offered. There are all types- from onion rings (tempted to grab one as I eyed the next table), crawfish or seafood beignets, crab cakes, eggplant fries (I must try these one day) and the list goes on and on. I decided to go straight into the main course and chose a dressed, grilled catfish sandwich substituting the usual side of potato chips with coleslaw for an additional $1.50 (fries, green salad and potato salad were also choices listed). For an additional $2.50, those wonderful golden fried onion rings or sweet potato fries are available. This po-boy was truly heaven. The french bread was so light and airy complimenting the grilled catfish perfectly. Having smothered my fish in both tarter and cocktail sauces, I am sure I used at least 10 napkins to clean up, but while eating an authentic New Orleans's po-boy, the messier, the better.
My partner was also extremely happy with the choice made. Being a little bit more adventuresome than I, they decided on Katherine's Cajun Cuban Sandwich (named after the co-owner). Perfectly stacked, this sandwich of smoked cochon de lait, grilled ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles is placed between two slices of french bread then buttered and pressed. This was topped off with a cold Barq's Root Beer straight from the bottle, the only way to do it. Sticking with the regular chips, after seeing our neighbor's onion rings they were sorry they did not substitute. The rings are the size of woman's bracelet and I am certain they are as delicious as they looked.
When you get a chance, check out the website. Katie's is conveniently open seven days a week (Monday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and also a Sunday brunch 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.). There are daily specials that are written on the chalkboard near the front door. The brick oven pizzas are wonderful sellers and on Thursday nights, there is a $10.00 special. Pre-Katrina, the walls of Katie's were outfitted in LSU and purple. She has had a complete makeover, and I must say it is quite appealing and looks good on her. I simply love the new look. I am sure Katie's would be proud to know she is perfect (5 fleurs-de-lis) and should never change. We all need those friendships that we can always count on through thick and thin. In this case our thick was Hurricane Katrina and her absence and the rebuilding process. Let it be known Katie's back. She is named like an old friend, and to me that is just what she is.
~ Nola Roux