Restaurants, breakfast, 24/7 food near New Orleans airport | Where NOLA Eats

Whenever I make an airport run these days, my eyes are peeled for good places to eat.

This is a hot topic. Sometimes you want a meal before a trip, or you need to kill time before picking someone up, or perhaps you or your visitors urgently need a meal upon arrival — all the better if it gives local flavor.







Shrimp yakamein from Loy-n-Vet Food Store near the New Orleans airport. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


The axis of options for this changed greatly when the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport opened its new terminal late in 2019. Then came the pandemic. Now that things feel more normal, and with the holiday travel season here, it’s time to assess what’s available and what’s good.







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A mural honoring the late chef Leah Chase adorns the wall at her grandson’s restaurant Leah’s Kitchen at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate).


First off though, the food inside the airport today is vastly better. You can get the same gumbo they serve at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant at the related Leah’s Kitchen in the concourse, or revisit Mondo, chef Susan Spicer’s one-time Lakeview restaurant reincarnated at the airport. You can get beef debris and grits from the Munch Factory and even Emeril Lagasse has a restaurant here. However, these restaurants are all behind security for passengers.







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Chef Susan Spicer works the oven at Mondo, her restaurant in the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.




What follows are options immediately around the airport.

Because the flyover exit ramp from the interstate is still slowly taking shape (now slated for completion next summer, perhaps), Loyola Drive with its succession of stop lights is airport entrance route for now.

For food, it presents a rogues’ gallery of national brands visible from the interstate, like McDonald’s, Rally’s and Taco Bell (which, believe me, is nowhere near beneath my own cravings).







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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen started in Louisiana and has grown into a global brand for its fried chicken and biscuits. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


There’s also a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (3016 Loyola Drive, 10 am to 11 pm daily), which is global now but will always be of local interest and very often is precisely what people want on an airport run. Just across the street, there’s also a location of Brothers Food Mart (3049 Loyola Drive, open 24/7), the local gas station/convenience store chain rightfully renowned for its own deli counter fried chicken.

In between, there are a handful of local operations that you should know about. I’m also adding a few more of my favorites from the surrounding radius that are still on my mind for travel time eating.

Loyola Drive cluster







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Yummy House serves a menu of dim sum and traditional Chinese dishes near the airport in Kenner. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Yummy House

3000 Loyola Drive, (504) 470-2989, open daily 10:30 am to 9:30 pm (10:30 pm Fri., Sat.)

Just next to the traffic signal coming off the highway, this looks like another strip mall takeout Chinese restaurant. In fact, it’s a destination for dim sum, with a long roster of dumplings and other small dishes.







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A spread of dim sum including greens, chive dumplings, pea shoot dumplings, and shumai dumplings fill a table at Yummy House in Kenner. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


You can get American-Chinese standards here, but ask for the full menu for the more elaborate dishes, all the way up to Cantonese lobster.







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Hot crawfish is served at Kenner Seafood, located at 3140 Loyola Dr. in Kenner, near the New Orleans airport. (Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Kenner Seafood

3140 Loyola Drive, (504) 466-4701, open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Though it’s a little hard to spot from the street, walking into this longtime local gem is like taking a time machine back to the New Orleans seafood joints of the past.







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A seafood boat is served Kenner Seafood, located at 3140 Loyola Dr. in Kenner, near the New Orleans airport. (Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


It gives you a deep dive into Louisiana flavor, with seasonal boiled seafood and fried seafood as the dueling main acts and raw oysters to slurp as you sip a beer after that trip out of town. There’s a seafood market up front too, and they ship.







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The Tastee Donuts location on Loyola Drive in Kenner has an extensive menu of New Orleans specialties. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Tastee Donuts

3130 Loyola Drive, (504) 466-2136, open 24/7

The Tastee name is familiar from its locations across town, but they are not all the same. This one is a 24/7 operation that runs a kitchen serving a surprisingly extensive array of po-boys, plate lunches and some good, deep-running Creole soul specialties (hat tip to reader Victor Hastings for putting this find on my radar).

The gumbo, stewed shrimp, and stuffed bell pepper plates all give a taste of home, next to the glazed donuts and big puffy cinnamon rolls, and there are breakfast plates (like chicken-fried steak with eggs) for morning meals.







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Po-boys and fried seafood plates are the specialty at Loy-n-Vet Food Store near the New Orleans airport. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Loy-n-Vet Food Store

2801 Loyola Drive, (504) 466-2883, Mon.-Sat., 10 am to 7:30 pm

The curious name always catches my eye when I’m stopped at that last light before the airport entrance.

What looks like a convenience store turns out to be a po-boy shop with fried seafood platters and a few other specialties, including, significantly, yakamein, with a thin peppery broth loaded with noodles and green onions. It’s a good representation of the style at the last stop before departure.

Around the radius

These are some of my favorite stops farther out but still en route:







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Pollos con tajadas, a traditional Honduran dish of fried chicken with plantains, fills the table at La Cocinita in Kenner.




La Cocinita

2317 Veterans Blvd., (504) 346-6903, open daily 7 am to 9 pm (Fri., Sat. till 10 pm)

Honduran food is getting its due around New Orleans, with more restaurants serving different iterations of this soulful cooking.

This one has been around for a long time, showing the way with heavenly platters of pollo con tajadas (fried chicken heaped with thin, fried plantains), sizzling fajita platters and soulful soups. It’s also a handy breakfast stop, with baleadas filled with beans and crema and avocado serving the same role as breakfast burritos.







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Raw oysters and a bloody Mary at Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar in Kenner gives local flavor. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar

3201 Williams Blvd., (504) 443-6454, open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A bloody mary and a dozen oysters have been a first taste of home here many times, and the long menu is all Louisiana. Back after a fire and greatly expanded, Harbor Seafood now has an outdoor patio, and as always there’s the seafood market next door, which also ships.







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The smoothie and juice bar chain Baya Bar has two counter-service locations on Freret Street and in Kenner. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)


Baya Bar

819 W. Esplanade Ave., (504) 332-3044, open daily 10 am to 9 pm

Finding something reasonably healthy and also quick can take a little more digging, and that’s the case with this smoothie bar chain (there’s another location on Freret Street). It’s a little further off the trail from the airport, but the payoff is acai bowls, smoothies and juices when you need that fix.







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The meatballs are softball-sized specialties at Gendusa’s Italian Market in the Rivertown area of ​​Kenner.




Gendusa’s Italian Market

325 Williams Blvd., (504) 305-5305, open Tue.-Sun. 11 am to 9 pm (Fri., Sat. till 10 pm)

One of the best Italian restaurants around is in this Rivertown cottage, and it’s always on my mind if I’m near the airport. This is not a quick stop, but rather a place to settle in for a big feed. The meatballs are of momentous size and correspondingly delicious, and the pizza and pastas are hearty and flavorful.







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Taco Tico has one local outpost in Kenner for crunchy taco comfort food. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Taco-Tico

2529 Williams Blvd., (504) 469-2339, open Tue.-Thu. 11 am to 4 pm, Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As noted, there is a Taco Bell very close to the airport; but given the choice, I am bringing my crunchy taco craving to Taco Tico, the last local outpost of a once more numerous chain.







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Tacos and taco burgers from Taco Tico, which has one local outpost in Kenner for crunchy taco comfort food. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


This one is only open for drive-thru service now, which is just fine on an airport run. If there’s such a thing as Kenner-Mex (not even Tex-Mex) this is it.







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Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty – Chicken shawarma is a specialty at the Falafel King in Kenner.


Falafel King

2424 Williams Blvd., (504) 305-1797, Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This is not fast food but it is speedy and very fresh. Given the name, you have to start with the falafel, which is strung with herbs and lashed with toum, the heavenly white garlic sauce. Chicken shawarma is also good here, and there is usually an array of house-made desserts.

In that jittery time before kickoff, there were so many questions in the intermediary area between the kitchen and the TV.

All gas station fried chicken is quick and inexpensive. But it is not all created equal. In fact, you can eat a lot of bad gas station chicken…

Holiday grocery shopping is serious business, and New Orleans have their own game plans well established.

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