These celebrity chefs opening restaurants in Harrah’s as New Orleans casino becomes Caesars
BY IAN MCNULTY | STAFF WRITER
PUBLISHED JAN 9, 2023 AT 4:00 AM | UPDATED JAN 9, 2023 AT 7:08 AM
Soon, visitors to Harrah’s New Orleans casino will be able to sample dishes from three high-profile chefs, including one local star, in quick-serve, walk-right-up style.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, baker and “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro and New Orleans chef Nina Compton will each open their own distinct concepts in a new food hall in the casino.
Work on the food hall, located on the first floor in what had been a theater, is nearing completion. The three restaurants are slated to open in mid-February, casino officials confirm.
A rendering of the forthcoming food hall at Harrah’s New Orleans casino featuring concepts from three high-profile chefs. (Contributed image from Caesars)
Flay will have a new location of his Bobby’s Burgers brand here, with burgers, fries and shakes, and Valastro will open his second PizzaCake location with pizzas and desserts.
Compton will unveil something entirely new. Nina’s Creole Cottage will be the chef’s first fast-casual concept, serving original dishes drawn from a blend of island and Louisiana interpretations of Creole cooking.
The food hall is latest in a sweeping, $325 million project to expand and transform the casino at the foot of Canal Street into Caesars. The overall project includes a new hotel tower and a restaurant by international sushi master Nobu Matsuhisa, set to open next year.
The forthcoming food hall is designed around a much more casual approach, with the trio of eateries clustered together, each with its own look and style.
Nina’s Creole Cottage takes its design cues from New Orleans architecture and has a mural hand-painted by the chef’s sister, Fiona Compton.
A rendering of Nina’s Creole Cottage, the concept from New Orleans chef Nina Compton, which will be part of the forthcoming food hall at Harrah’s New Orleans casino. (Contributed image from Caesars)
Compton’s menu uses casual dishes to draw a thread between the different ideas of Creole cultivated from the Caribbean to Louisiana.
“We wanted to tie in the two Creoles, what I grew up with and what we have here,” said Compton, a native of St. Lucia.
Two examples: fried chicken and plantain waffles and rice and pea croquettes. The restaurant will serve frozen drinks as well.
Chef Nina Compton opened her first restaurant Compère Lapin in the Warehouse District and followed it with Bywater American Bistro in 2018.
Advocate photo by J.T. BLATTY
“This definitely stays true to what we do in New Orleans; it’s fun and festive. People come to have a great time and eat really good food,” she said.
Compton arrived in New Orleans in 2015 after her star turn on “Top Chef” the year before. She and her husband, Larry Miller, opened their first restaurant, Compère Lapin, downtown with a style blending Caribbean, French and Italian flavors. In 2018 she won the James Beard award for Best Chef: South, and the couple opened their second restaurant, Bywater American Bistro, that same year.
A rendering of Bobby’s Burgers, the concept from celebrity chef Bobby Flay, which will be part of the forthcoming food hall at Harrah’s New Orleans casino. (Contributed image from Caesars)
Flay has locations of Bobby’s Burgers in other casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and in Yankee Stadium in New York. Its menu has classic burgers, signature burgers (including one topped with cheese and potato chips), veggie burgers, a fried chicken sandwich, fries and milkshakes.
A rendering of PizzaCake, the concept from “Cake Boss” star Bubby Valastro, which will be part of the forthcoming food hall at Harrah’s New Orleans casino. (Contributed image from Caesars)
Valastro is the owner of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey and came to fame through the reality TV show “Cake Boss.”
He describes PizzaCake as “the culmination of my love of all things sliced — pizza and cake.” It serves pizza in traditional, East Coast style slices and Sicilian slices, cut from classic and specialty pies. The menu also has desserts from Carlo’s Bakery, like cannoli and rainbow cookies.
The food hall will join some other new components of the property’s transformation that are already complete. That includes the sports betting venue Caesars Sportsbook and Caesars World Series of Poker, a dedicated poker space.