New Orleans chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus officially open the doors of their highly anticipated second restaurant concept, Thalia, to the public Tuesday, August 6th. The newest concept by the co-owners and chefs of acclaimed Coquette will open for its first dinner service at 5:00 p.m. today. Guests of the intimate 37-seat Lower Garden District neighborhood restaurant will enjoy thoughtful Southern fare, regionally sourced and inspired by the Gulf Coast.
Essig and Stoltzfus created Thalia with five core tenets in mind including quality, comfort, affordability, consistency and sustainability. Essig and Stoltzfus hope Thalia will connect the community through good food and in a welcoming atmosphere. Highlights of the affordable menu, which offers small plates starting at $6 and large plates in the $17-$22 range, include Blackened Catfish A La Veracruz with Louisiana Long Grain Rice and BBQ Shrimp with Coca-Cola, Rosemary, Black Pepper and Peanuts.
“Michael and I are thrilled to finally open the doors to Thalia,” says Essig. “Thalia has been, in every sense of the phrase, a labor of love and we’re so grateful to our wonderful Lower Garden District neighbors who have helped us pick out everything from paint colors to menu items. We hope Thalia to be a place to enjoy good food, with good people over good conversation!”
While Thalia’s menu will change frequently in order to utilize the best available ingredients, each unique menu is anchored by creative and accessible chef-driven interpretations of familiar snacks, salads, pastas and hearty proteins. Thalia also offers themed “daily rituals” – comparable to blue plate specials – ranging from Tuesday Schnitzel Night to Thursday Baked Pasta Night.
In keeping promise with their core pillar of sustainability, Thalia aims to keep their environmental impact and footprint low. Being the smaller 37-seat sister restaurant of Coquette, much of Thalia’s menu offerings will reflect and utilize trimmings from Coquette, including Thalia’s Bolognese which uses leftover short rib from Coquette to prepare the pasta’s sauce. Such practices also aid in keeping costs low and Thalia’s menu affordable.
Aside from chefs Essig and Stoltzfus, principal players at Thalia includes 2019 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef finalist Ana Castro and Chef Sean Poole. Both coming from Coquette, Castro and Poole will serve together as Thalia’s sous chefs. Leading Thalia’s cocktail program is Denzel Brown and Colin Williams while Wine Guy Ryan Plas heads the wine program.
After opening Coquette in 2008, Stoltzfus received four back-to-back James Beard Foundation Best Chef South Award nominations in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, before Essig joined him at Coquette in fall 2016. Since then, the duo has tacked on another impressive three back-to-back JBF Best Chef South nominations together in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Most recently, The Times-Picayune acknowledged Coquette among the “Top 10 New Orleans Restaurants for 2019.”
Located on 1245 Constance Street in New Orleans, Thalia offers 37 seats inside, including 30 in the restaurant’s dining room and the remaining seven seated at the custom-built wooden bar. Essig and Stoltzfus worked with local craftsmen from Good Wood for Thalia’s hand-built dining room wooden benches. A commissioned piece by local New Orleans folk artist Devin De Wulf boasts a dining room wall. The 7ft tall and 5ft wide painting is inspired by the neighborhood and community of the Lower Garden District and the time that chefs Michael Stoltzfus and Kristen Essig have spent together.
Thalia is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner service from 5 – 10 p.m. Thalia plans to offer Happy Hour daily from 3 – 5 p.m in the coming weeks. For more information, visi twww.thalianola.com or follow along on social media @thalia_nola.
Sarah Scott Worth
South City PR
South City PR
South City PR