What NOLA Doesn’t Need

As New Orleanians, we aren’t afraid to show our true colors. We’re a proud bunch, through and through, who would never miss an opportunity to scoff at misguided Instagram photos of Starbucks drinks or the latest national health trend. Think Kalegate 2014.

With this mentality comes a sense of pride for any and all local establishments. Okay, maybe not all (t-shirt shops are exempt from the pride badge), but most of us would prefer to have our money cycled through the local economy rather than some out of town corporation who can’t even pronounce Tchoupitoulas.

So, it is with this state of mind that I introduce NOLA Doesn’t Need: a semi-regular look at mostly chain businesses that we can simply do without, either with the substitution of a local establishment or just the lack of demand for a place like that here.

I’m not saying that any of these places are bad, just that we can do it a little better. I’d hate to be banned from Jimmy John’s for saying I’d prefer a sandwich from Stein’s of Favori. JJ’s is the only place I can have an Italian Night Club in my mouth without that being weird. So, don’t hate me, but NOLA doesn’t need…

Panera Bread

No Thanks.
No Thanks.

I’m a big fan of cafe style restaurants. I’m addicted to coffee and feel slightly better about the food I eat if it even sounds remotely foreign. That has to mean healthier, right? One thing we certainly don’t need in New Orleans, though, is a chain cafe that, at best, is a rank above fast food. You want sandwiches, soups, and coffee for lunch? We got you covered. Maple Street Patisserie, Between the Bread, Breads on Oak, Cafe Fleur De Lis, Chateau Cafe, Fair Grinds Coffeehouse, Cafe Rose Nicaud, and dozens more local cafes provide any cafe/lunch shop needs you may have.

Five Guys

It's good, but it could use a lot of NOLA flair.
It’s good, but it could use a lot of NOLA flair.

This one might get me excommunicated from my circle of friends, but not even the endless bag of fries can save the Five Guys. NOLA’s burger scene has exploded in the past few years. You’ve got plenty of options if you need that red meat fix in this city: Truburger, Cowbell, The Company Burger, Phil’s Grill, Port of Call, Bud’s Broiler, as well as tons of other carnivorous eateries. If you’re drinking at ____ Bar and Grille, chances are they’ll have a burger that’ll put some hair on your chest.

Academy Sports/Dick’s

You can keep your Dick's.
You can keep your Dick’s.

Enough with the food — I’m getting too hungry. With hunger comes weight gains. With weight gains comes a trip to a sporting goods store for workout equipment, only to come home with shotgun shells and a new Colombia PFG. We live in the Sportsman’s Paradise, so it only makes sense that sporting goods stores can and will do well here. Here are a few local options: Massey’s, Varsity Sports, Southern Runner, Uptown Angler, and Puglia’s. Here’s to getting off my butt and staying local at the same time.

Luckily, it’s June, and plenty of residents have staying local on their minds. The Eat Local Challenge 2014 is currently underway, and it isn’t too late to follow their lead in spirit. Also, Stay Local recently conducted a study that surveyed 23 Magazine Street businesses about their opinions of big chain stores. The consensus is: we don’t really want them. So, New Orleans, the drive to stay local is there, all we need is the effort. And that’s where you come in.

About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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