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COOLinary: What’s on the Menu in August

COOLinary New Orleans
Photo courtesy of Coolinary New Orleans

There’s no better time to dine at an award-winning restaurant during your visit to New Orleans (or while you play tourist in your own city) than August. Not only do you get to experience cuisine that is an integral part of the New Orleans heritage, but you’ll be doing so at a discount. This is your chance to try out that new restaurant or revisit the old favorite!

COOLinary was conceived 15 years ago by New Orleans & Company (formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau) as a promotion to lure diners to local restaurants in the slower summer months — the month of August especially — during which restaurants all over the city offer discounted dining deals. It’s the only dining program of this caliber that offers deals this time of year, though you can enjoy similar perks during the citywide holiday Reveillon promotion in December and the New Orleans Restaurant Week (June 20-26, 2022).

During its 15 years, COOLinary kept growing in size and popularity. In the past few years, the number of participating restaurants have grown to reach 100, and kept going, some with multiple locations across the city. The restaurants that are taking part in this annual summer promotion are spread all over the city, including the Marigny, CBD, Uptown, and the French Quarter, and run the gamut from the iconic to the smaller casual ones.

In the past few years, the list included the famous Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Bayona, Commander’s Palace, and Galatoire’s. The Uptown’s Brigtsen’s and CBD’s Maypop are both joining this enviable roster this year. Some more casual participants include local chains like Zea Rotisserie and Bar, and the popular eateries located as far as Harvey and Kenner.

The menus and the list of the participating restaurants are typically announced in June, but, basically, expect:

  • Three-course brunch menus for $39 or less
  • Two- or three-course lunch menus for $20 or less
  • Three-course dinner menus for $39 or less

Once posted, the restaurant list is searchable by location, with each listing accompanied by the sample menu that includes the price, and you can also make a reservation right then and there.

In 2018, the New Orleans & Company and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation introduced the “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” promotion for August and September, to encourage locals to book a stay-cation or make a reservation at their favorite restaurant. The promotion includes more than 80 offers and discounted rates at hotels, tours, attractions, and, of course, the dining deals. Since “Be a Tourist…” overlaps with COOLinary and the New Orleans Restaurant Week, this trifecta of dining deals makes the typically hot months of August and September more attractive than ever to diners coming from far and wide.

Many of the restaurants that participate in these promos are located in the French Quarter or downtown, within walking distance from many historic hotels. So, book a hotel, make a reservation, and get out there and enjoy the culinary gems New Orleans has to offer!