New Orleans - French Quarter: Café du Monde - Café au Lait and Beignets
The original Café du Monde Coffee Stand, at 800 Decatur Street, was established at the upper end of the New Orleans French Market in 1862. Since then it has been serving its chicory flavored café au lait and French-style beignets 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week, except for Christmas Day and when ""the occasional hurricane passes too close to New Orleans." Café du Monde has been owned by the Fernandez family since Hubert Fernandez bought it from Fred Koeniger in 1942.
Café du Monde's dark roasted Coffee and Chicory is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk, but also available black. Since 1988, it has also been offered iced. Coffee first came to North America by way of New Orleans in the mid-1700's. It was successfully cultivated in Martinique about 1720, and the French brought coffee with them as they began to settle new colonies along the Mississippi. The taste for coffee and chicory was developed by the French during their civil war. Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste and many other french customs to Louisiana. Chicory is the root of the endive plant, which is roasted and ground and added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge, adding an slight chocolate flavor.
Beignets were also brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. The French-style doughnuts are served in orders of three at Café du Monde.
For over a century Café du Monde was one of two coffee stands in the market, but Morning Call, established in 1870, moved to Metairie in 1974. The Fernandez family expanded in 1985, with a second location in The Esplanade Mall, located in Kenner, and then again in 1986 in Rouse Co.'s Riverwalk Marketplace. While it once expanded as far away as Atlanta, Georgia, in recent years the company has restricted its operation to the greater New Orleans metro area. Café du Monde locations can also be found throughout Japan.
Vieux Carré Historic District National Register #66000377 (1966)
Cafe Du Monde was featured on the Travel Channel show, Man Vs. Food (Episode 9)