Just like beignets, streetcars and po’boys, hearing Kermit Ruffins play is a requisite part of any trip to New Orleans. Fortunately, the charming trumpeter and crooner performs almost every night in clubs across the city. (You can also catch him on acclaimed HBO drama Treme.)
We got Ruffins to talk to us about his favorite spots to eat and drink in the Big Easy. Whether you’re going down for Tales of the Cocktail this week or visiting another time, you should check out his guide.
“I love my Bloody Mary,” admits Ruffins over the phone. “I’m having one now.” He enjoys the classic at Deja Vu Bar & Grill, whose recipe includes pickled green beans, Worcestershire sauce and a splash of Guinness. What does he eat with it? Nothing. “That’s my breakfast.”
While Ruffins usually stays away from sweets, once in a blue moon he can’t resist the temptation of Cafe Du Monde. “That’s got to be the best spot for beignets,” he says of the French Quarter institution, which is open 24 hours a day every day but Christmas.
Besides music, Ruffins really knows food. (He cooks all of what’s served at his new establishment, Kermit’s Treme Speakeasy.) So it says a lot that he’s a regular at Maximo’s in the French Quarter, ordering crawfish diablo and lamb chops.
Bullet’s Sports Bar, 2441 A.P. Tureaud Avenue, 504 948 4003:
When it comes to watering holes, Ruffins likes a mom-and-pop joint. And you can often find him hanging out at Bullet’s Sports Bar, where he plays a show on Tuesday nights. Thanks to its appearance on Treme, it’s now a bit more well-known.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House, 2401 St. Ann Street, 504 822 9503:
New Orleans may not be famous for its fried chicken, but Ruffins swears by Willie Mae’s Scotch House’s crispy version of the dish. The Treme restaurant offers “real soul food,” he says. “It’s been there forever.”