Willa Jean is not my lover, but I'm in love.
In plain view, "Uneeda Biscuit" are emblazoned across the wall as you walk into the John Besh Group's newest eatery, Willa Jean.
Those words could not be any more closer to the truth. I mean here in the South everyone needs a biscuit or two, or let's go with it, a dozen. Located in the brand new Paramount at South Market development (611 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113) in the CBD, Willa Jean anchors the block smack dab in the middle of all the action. Here's some more info about the new property...
"BRG Executive Pastry Chef Kelly Fields and Pastry Chef Lisa White (of Domenica and PIZZA Domenica) are collaborators in the bakery and restaurant, which is named after Fields’ grandmother.
The bakery, outfitted with 80 seats and designed by Curtis Herring, adds a modern and elegant touch to iconic southern food we all know and love. Warm brick walls, Edison bulbs and the restaurant’s “Uneeda Biscuit” mural all lend charm to a space that evokes nostalgia with a contemporary twist.
The bakery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, allowing the two chefs to show off their savory sides. The lunch and dinner menus are organized by “snacks,” “tartines/sandwiches,” “salads and soups,” “hot plates,” and “extra stuff,” offering customers the choice to order a selection of small plates or a single, heartier dish. The playful fare include items like: pigs in a blanket with apricot mustard; grains and legumes salad with almonds and zesty vinaigrette; fried chicken biscuit with serrano slaw and poirier’s cane syrup and key lime somethin', to name a few signature items. Willa Jean will also offer the composed desserts, breads and pastries that have garnered popularity across the BRG establishments."
It took me a few weeks to swing by for the first time and I was super stoked for the experience. I had seen several pics floating around my feed of some of the pastries from WJ, but it was the biscuits that I pined for the most. The images that I saw did them no justice and I found out very quickly how large, flaky, and decadent the biscuits were. Layers upon layers of moist greatness was what I was in store for when I took my first bite. I may be the only person who actually goes to Popeyes for the biscuits and will from time to time skip the chicken, but the biscuits from Willa Jean are absolutely better than a Popeye's biscuits even on Mardi Gras day. Since my first trip, I've made it a point to stop in and pick a half dozen or so to go with my coffee in the morning. I have to admit, I did also semi-devour a sticky bun that day, but it was the biscuit that made feel like I was cheating. The CBD is changing rapidly and the Paramount along with spots like Willa Jean are changing it's landscape for the better.