First glance: The District
“We don’t have Coke, but we have our own homemade cola – made with real cane sugar – is that okay?”
Welcome to The District, a new “donuts, sliders, and brew” joint in the Lower Garden District (2209 Magazine St.). But take off your beer goggles; “brew” refers to the sprawling caffeine bar consistent with the coffee crusade that seems to be consuming New Orleans lately. The District steps it up a notch with “Nitro,” a nitrogen-infused iced coffee blend with a hint of chicory, which is served on tap and resembles a virgin Guinness more than it does coffee. Additional drinks that come from the chrome bar tap are regular iced coffee, chocolate milk, and homemade juices. Patrons are also invited to bring their own six-pack to dunk into the ice-cold 'beer jacuzzi' –- a fun toy that chills your drink in minutes.
If the adjacent Stein’s Deli brings the excess of New York City, then The District offers the moderation of the West Coast. The menu is simple and inexpensive. Coffee and a donut will run no less than five dollars, while each slider (you’ll need two) costs $3.50. The cooks were still playing hopscotch behind the fryer on opening day but the product ---a fried chicken slider dressed with sweet coleslaw -- earned its price. Additional slider options include a classic cheeseburger and a pork belly special. You can peak behind the counter and observe the conception of donuts as well, which are artful monstrosities more suitable for desert than for breakfast.
The District’s interior, seated on glossed, earth-stained concrete and illuminated by Edison-era light bulbs, boasts the rustic elements of a locals’ retreat. However, the clean, high ceilings and academic-looking thirty-something staff are consistent with the prime real estate. A chocolate-stained wooden bar is long enough to fit two-dozen lunch goers, and the opposite wall is lined with custom built, comfortable booths.
The snack bar's ownership and management is split between three men, each with experience in the trenches of other local restaurants, who have a vision to make a profit and a difference in the community.
“We want to be the kind of place that makes the neighbors glad that we are here; a space where friends are recognized. Food is just a means for us to share the table together.”
And the management walks the walk, revealing plans to run a Street car-themed food truck and donate one hundred percent of the profits to Crossroads NOLA, a nonprofit organization committed to making a difference in the lives of children in foster care in New Orleans.
Donuts and sliders on Magazine Street promise to draw consistent, daylong business for The District, so hurry in before everyone else hears about it. This food isn’t for sharing.