When you think of food in the South, an outsider might think of biscuits, crawfish, or a complex Creole/Cajun dish. New Orleans is different in that it has every type of food imaginable. People often joke that it must be so hard to be healthy in the Big Easy with so much greasy (and extremely delicious) food. Well, it’s not as hard as it may seem. A multitude of restaurants have options for vegetarians, vegans, paleo eaters, the health conscious, or anyone with a dietary restriction. I recently visited Bearcat Cafe on Freret Street with a friend who is gluten-free and was looking for a healthy meal. I, on the other hand, was craving something more substantial—think a biscuit and eggs.
It got crowded at around 11:30am on a Sunday, and we chose to sit outside so our wait was shorter than someone who preferred to be inside. If you go on the earlier side, 9 or 10am, you should be seated quickly. My friend decided to go with the gluten-free, paleo banana chip pancakes, something that satisfies many dietary needs. After browsing the menu myself, I was excited to see the Breakfast Club sandwich, which is exactly what I was craving.
Their menu has a helpful “Good Cat” section, with “healthier” options, and “Bad Cat” section, which offers “unhealthier” options. For lunch, choices include vegan grilled cheese, a BBQ pasta, and citrus salad. About half of the menu could be accommodated if need be, making this lunch-and-brunch serving restaurant that much more appealing to people who are aware of what they are putting in their bodies. The cafe even hosts a weekly Vietnamese vegan pop up on Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30-10pm called Nyguyen in Nola.
The coffee and tea selection was groundbreaking, and I would visit Bearcat Cafe just for the coffee bar. If you are a tea person, the chai latte and thai iced tea are incredible. Lots of the beverages you can even take to go. Needless to say, I will definitely be returning, whether I’m craving a vegan chia pudding or a Cat Daddy Biscuit sandwich. Check them out on Instagram here; I know you’ll want to stalk them before you go. What other restaurants in New Orleans are conscious about the desire for healthy options while still keeping their customers satisfied? I’ve yet to find one as good as this.
ALL PHOTOS: Bearcat Cafe