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The recently opened Purloo located inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum celebrates the hospitality, warmth and conviviality synonymous with the South. The restaurant features a moderately priced menu that spotlights traditional Southern cuisine with modern, innovative twists. Purloo serves not only as a dining destination but also as a living exhibit, showcasing the flavors and culinary traditions of the region. 

Named for the Lowcountry traditional dish of a baked pot of rice and whatever else is on-hand, Purloo will give diners an in-depth look at and taste of Southern regional fare. Helmed by chef/owner Ryan Hughes, who has earned critical acclaim for his Southern cooking with French savvy at some of New Orleans' most acclaimed restaurants including Brennan's, Emeril's Delmonico, Café Degas, Bayona, and more, the 30-seat exhibition kitchen and 40-seat restaurant will serve as a place to both eat and learn. "Our team will engage with our diners as we cook and answer questions about the heritage behind each dish and where the ingredients come from. We're there to not only provide a great meal, but also an educational experience," says Hughes.

Purloo boasts a rotating seasonal menu overseen by Chef Hughes that showcases locally sourced, fresh ingredients from various regions of the South. Guests can graze on small plates ($7-$13) such as Lowcountry Style She-Crab Soup garnished with aged Madeira; Delta Corn Tamale with crawfish red gravy, feta and olives; and Cape Hatteras Style Clams served in a clear broth with pearl onions, bacon, and pea tendrils. Diners can also feast on the savory Smoked Lamb with Charleston pimento cheese, green tomato chutney, deviled eggs "Meuniére", fried pickles and boiled peanuts. Entrées ($23-$26) feature a variety of sumptuous dishes that put a spin on traditional fare, such as Panéed Rabbit with slow cooked field peas and fennel, spicy garlic baby bok choy and red eye gravy; Curried Goat with lemongrass, coriander, local sweet potatoes and sprouts, served with Bánh mì bread; Pecan Crusted Barbequed Beef Short Rib in a grilled Satsuma glaze with house cured tasso macaroni; and a Lowcountry Boil - shrimp, clams, blue crab, baby potatoes and Conecuh sausage in a cilantro, lemon and cayenne broth. In addition to the regular menu, Hughes will showcase 8-10 specialty dishes each week, highlighting a different state across the region.

Rounding out the menu are desserts ($7-$11) created by pastry chef Ryan McDougall. Southern sweet treats include Meyer lemon fried hand pie; Bayou spiced rum crème caramel with molasses financier; Individual buttermilk chess pie topped with Louisiana strawberries; and McDougall's take on Alabama's famed Lane Cake with pecans, coconut, raisins, bourbon and a meringue icing.

Guests can accompany dinner with one of the many traditional and creative Southern cocktails created by bar curator Mark Schettler, who has earned critical acclaim for his libations at Swizzle Stick, Appoline and most recently Tonique. The Yah Yah keeps it fun and local with a combination of Cathead honeysuckle vodka, Satsuma syrup, citrus, Blanc vermouth and the West Bank's very own El Guapo Mojo Cubano bitters, topped with a splash of soda. The Shhh combines Pisco Porton, bianco vermouth, Indonesian rum and seasonal melon. The Milk of Human Kindness is a coconut milk-based rum punch topped with an array of Indian spices - all proceeds from this drink will benefit nearby charity, The New Orleans Mission.

Designed with an eye toward creating an unpretentious yet convivial vibe, Purloo combines rustic elements with modern touches. A main focal point of the restaurant, the exhibition kitchen features 30 seats at the wrap-around counter of reclaimed sinker cypress from the local bayou, allowing guests to see action unfold. A stainless steel hood sits in the center of the kitchen, while whitewashed open cabinetry houses cookware, plates and serving dishes. In the restaurant area, 400 year-old warm wood tables, handmade from an old sugar mill in rural New Road, Louisiana, are set on polished concrete floors, providing a stylish yet laid-back dining scene that has an additional 40 seats. The expansive historic bar - built in 1851 for the West End Hotel and later moved to Bruning's Restaurant is possibly the oldest bar in New Orleans. Whether perching at the bar, dining in the restaurant or taking a seat at the exhibition kitchen, there is something for everyone at Purloo. Guests can also enjoy many of the Southern specialties, both food and drink, in sample sizes to purchase for enjoyment while touring SoFAB for the ultimate interactive experience.

Purloo is located at 1504 Oretha C. Haley Boulevard at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. The restaurant serves dinner Tuesday - Saturday, 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Lunch forthcoming. Reservations required for parties of six or more. Telephone: (504) 324-6020; Website: Twitter @purloonola.

About SoFAB

The SoFAB Institute documents and celebrates the food and drink of all cultures through exhibits, programming, and a range of media. Because everyone eats, all aspects of food and drink-culture and geography, anthropology and history, economics and politics, law and policy, media and the arts, science and technology-reveal the state of the world. The SoFAB Institute, which also includes the Culinaria Policy Center, Nitty Grits (the International Culinary Dictionary), The SoFAB Culinary Heritage Register, and SoFAB Media, is among the nation's leading institutions studying food and drink. For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @southernfood.