There’s no missing the omnipresent queue out front, and it’s there for a reason. Ever since 1862, when the original Café Du Monde coffee stand opened in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, people have been lining up for their signature beignets and café au lait blended with chicory root.
Located on Decatur Street, across from Jackson Square and the landmark St. Louis Cathedral (and only a stone’s throw from the mighty Mississippi River), a stop at the Café Du Monde is a must for visitors to the Crescent City. Patrons dine al fresco in an open-sided building at tables invariably dusted with leftover powdered sugar.
The menu at the Café Du Monde is quite simple, with the only food item being beignets: deep-fried squares of dough, liberally slathered with powdered sugar, and served up in threes. For beverages, the café offers dark-roasted coffee and chicory—either black or au lait (with hot milk)—iced coffee, cold milk, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
In case you were wondering, chicory is another name for the endive plant. The root is roasted and ground, and then blended with the coffee. The chicory lessens the bitterness of the dark roast and adds notes of chocolate to the coffee served at the Café Du Monde. In the 1800s, coffee beans were scarce so the Acadian people from Nova Scotia, Canada added chicory to their coffee in order to make the supplies last longer. When the Acadians migrated south to Louisiana (the word “Cajun” is derived from “Acadian”), they brought their method of coffee brewing with them, a tradition that lives on to this day in New Orleans.
There are a total of eight Café Du Monde coffee stands in the New Orleans metropolitan area. If only they’d open up shop farther west… might I suggest in Los Angeles?When: The café is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only closes on Christmas Day and “when the occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.” Where: 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116 For more information: visit the official Café Du Monde website.
Have you been to the Café Du Monde before? What were your impressions? Feel free to comment in the section below!
Michael Figueiredo is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he’s not gallivanting around the world, he’s enjoying the laid-back lifestyle and perfect weather of Southern California. So far he’s visited forty countries and territories on five continents. His goal is to see at least one new country every year! . Read more from this author