In amidst the bustle of New Orleans’ Central Business District there’s a haven of calm offering rich espresso, buttery crepes, and hearty sandwiches. And its name is Merchant. Believed by many (and formally anointed by Eater) to offer the best breakfast in the city, Merchant is filled to the sleek white rafters from the early hours with commuters looking for a jolt and others looking for a leisurely start to the day with great food. And it is great food, with an even better price tag. After all, what’s not to like about a cafe that lets you add a croissant to your breakfast for a dollar?
If you’re someone who likes to kick off the day with something sweet, try the nutella and banana-filled crepe, or perhaps one stuffed with apples, cinnamon and sugar. You can’t really go wrong with a crepe here; they’re made while you wait, and served hot and meltingly soft. But you could always go savoury, with plenty of beguiling options for crepe, baguette, and ciabatta. There’s the “Italianate” one, with lashings of prosciutto, tomato and basil, fontina cheese, balsamic and a subtle, yet generous flick of truffle butter. And the “Loxsmith”, which is made with salmon, goat’s cheese, capers and onion.
Even simple options like the parfait breakfast bowl deserve a mention here; the Greek yoghurt is creamy and rich, the granola is hemp and flaxseed (for extra virtue points) and the fruit is fresh and juicy. It’s a testament to Merchant that visitors can wax lyrical about their bowl of granola.
Particularly busy in the morning, Merchant’s chic white and wood enhanced surrounds are a beacon for the lunchtime set as well. And not just for the food. There’s also a stellar selection of drinks, from matcha lattes and cold brew to full-bodied Illy espresso.