Search Influence Reviews: 10 Spots to Snack During Your Break in Downtown NOLA

January 27th, 2016 by Sarah Jane Lowery

It’s good to get out of the office sometimes. There’s scientific evidence about getting up and moving around from your desk. In my personal opinion, the best use of that time is to get coffee or snacks. Down in the CBD of New Orleans, there are many places to grab a cup of joe or some Cajun-flavored treats. Here are some hidden and not-so-hidden gems that you should give a visit if you only have 15 minutes to spare:

1. Walgreens and CVS

These two big chain drug stores were picked for their sheer stock of anything you could want or need. Craving some peanuts? They got you covered. Need some allergy drugs for a sudden pollen strike? They’ve got you. Forgot a birthday card for your coworker? They’ve got you. Need a Mardi Gras tutu and don’t time after work to shop? They. have. got. you. covered. With multiple locations around the CBD, you are only a couple of blocks away from what you need.

2. Starbucks

Starbucks is inevitable for any list of break spots: it’s one of the reigning kings of coffee on a global scale, and its holiday cups spark a national debate. With mobile ordering, they reduced those long wait times for any busy professional so they can get in, get out, and get on with their day.

3. PJs

PJ’s is a local favorite of many New Orleanians. They have seasonal coffees that run with New Orleans-specific holidays and events, which means much more distinctive flavors than pumpkin spice. They have multiple locations throughout the CBD and a few tucked into hotels, so they could be right next door to you and you wouldn’t even know it.

4. Rouses

Yes. It’s a grocery store, but…have you ever had a weird craving for a snack that no place around you offered? Rouses has got you covered, since it’s a fully functioning grocery store. They also offer a buffet for meals, including breakfast. You can’t deny anywhere that offers bacon regularly. You might not think that you can get in and out in 15 minutes, but they have a nice, small register made just for that near-the-meal offering so you can avoid those long grocery lines.

5. Jamba Juice

I like to pretend I am healthy sometimes. I’m usually pretty good about getting my vegetables, but fruits are a struggle for me, and that’s why I love having Jamba Juice around. They even have juices that smuggle in vegetables if you don’t like broccoli as much as me.

Now that we have those chains out of the way, let’s get down to unique CBD gems!

6. Merchant

I literally stumbled onto this place one day on a break, which is a testament to my clumsiness and New Orleans sidewalks. I got pulled in by the architecture and stayed for the food and coffee. With sweet and savory crepes, there is a little bit of something for every palate. They even have gluten-free crepes—so very hip, and so very accommodating!

7. Cleo’s Mediterranean Cuisine

I have to be honest: I have never eaten at Cleo’s, but I have heard great things about it. If you only have 15 minutes and really want an adventure in the CBD, you have to check out the little grocery in Cleo’s. It’s full of international snacks and candy, some with labels that aren’t even in English (so be warned if you have food allergies like me). You can take a visit to the UK, Japan, and Greece and be back at your desk by 3:30.

8. HARO coffee & chocolate

This place was on my list to visit since I first saw it from the street car. Who can argue with somewhere with coffee and chocolate in the name? They offer a great selection of pastries and coffee for any mood or weather. The vibe reminds me of the coffee shops that I frequented in high school…especially since I seem to time my visits at the same time as the students from the International High School, which is right next door.

9. G&O Food Company

This was my first break hang when I first started working in the CBD, since it is tucked into the bottom of the building where I work. Their breakfast smells amazing (and tastes it, too) and makes everyone walking into work exceptionally hungry. They sell their sides in little to-go containers, so if you forgot something, you can take a quick break and pick up something delicious.

10. Dee’s Coffee

I came for the Vietnamese iced coffee and stayed because their coffee is amazing. As they proudly display, it has been voted one of New Orleans’ “best-kept secrets.” They have local flavors that you can customize any drink with and a changing menu that always has something exciting to try. On my next trip, I’m going to try out something with their bananas foster flavor. The only issue I have ever had here is not being able to decide on which coffee I want to try next.

Bonus: any building’s sundry shop

Now, this is only really for those of us who work in the CBD, but we all know what I’m talking about. There are sundry shops in all the major buildings like Shell Square, Capital One, and the Exchange Building (where SI is located). The sundry shop in the Exchange Building offers some breakfast and lunch food as well some quick snacks and ice cream. They even sell lotto tickets, which was really popular for that most recent Powerball craze.