Breakout Brands 2017: The Ruby Slipper Cafe

Rebuilding a sense of home with a New Orleans-style brunch concept

The Ruby Slipper Cafe is the dining equivalent of clicking your heels together three times and repeating, “There’s no place like brunch in New Orleans.” 

When items like BBQ shrimp and grits, eggs cochon, red-eye Benedict with smoked hollandaise, shrimp boogaloo Benedict on an open-faced biscuit, stuffed French toast and bacon-infused Bloody Marys mean “home,” there’s definitely no place like it.

The café was created in 2008 by an engineer couple looking to nourish the rebuilding process in Mid-City New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Co-owners Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt just wanted to break even with the first 52-seat location, but lines quickly grew. Now there are five locations in New Orleans, two on the Gulf Coast and the eighth restaurant opening this summer in Baton Rouge.

Jennifer Weishaupt credits the concept’s success to slipping into the boozy brunch niche with an authentic, funky, New Orleans vibe, and a menu that “blends traditional Southern classics with innovative culinary creations.” 

But the real differentiator is the way the café transforms the idea of a comfortable, homey brunch spot into a whimsical land of King Cake pancakes and “Who-Dat-Licious” cocktails. 

“The Ruby Slipper was inspired by a powerful sense of homecoming when we returned after Katrina,” Jennifer Weishaupt said. “Dorothy said it best: ‘There’s no place like home.’ We strive to be true to that and give people the ‘home’ experience every day.”

Breakout Factors:

• The menu taps into the boozy brunch trend, but with a bayou-accent.

• There’s a focus on a fun and functional atmosphere: The next New Orleans location will relocate the original spot, house the corporate headquarters and include a playground for kids.

• The engineer founders customized the tables to expand with sliding leaves and eliminate wobbliness.

• Most locations rehab old, dilapidated buildings that need a little extra love.

All photos courtesy of The Ruby Slipper Cafe.

Contact Tara Fitzpatrick at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @tara_fitzie

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