Purloo educates foodies with traditional Southern fare


Located within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Purloo serves a variety of dishes. The interior allows restaurant-goers to watch chefs cook, and learn about the food prepared.

Alec Swartzman, Print Arcade Editor

A new year in New Orleans would be incomplete without exploring some of the city’s brand new fine Southern dining restaurants, and last fall Chef Ryan Hughes claimed his own stake in the fine dining landscape by opening his own place, Purloo.

Ohio native Hughes has been cooking in New Orleans for the last 15 years for lauded restaurants such as Brennan’s, Emeril’s Delmonico and Cafe Degas. Purloo’s features a 30-seat exhibition kitchen serving as an abode for diners to both eat and learn.

“Our team will engage with our diners as we cook and answer questions about the heritage behind each dish and where the ingredients come from,” Hughes said. “We’re there to not only provide a great meal, but also an educational experience.”

Delivering delicious small plates and entrees, Purloo is located inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and serves diners every evening from Tuesday to Saturday.

Named for the traditional plate of a baked pot of rice and whatever else is on-hand, Purloo intends to provide guests with an in-depth taste and experience of all Southern regional fare, not just local.

“A lot of people that live in New Orleans and are from New Orleans, they pretty much think New Orleans is the southern cuisine,” Hughes said. “It’s really not, though. There are so many other great things around that I want to tap into and explore.”

Hughes’ brainchild began as a simple pop-up shop that spotlighted traditional Southern cooking with modern tweaks to bring them up to date. Hughes ran the kitchen once a week and worked as a consultant in the meantime.

“The pop-up concept was to actually test my ideas about doing Southern regional food to some regular customers and friends,” Hughes said. “Word got out, and sure enough I was selling out pop-ups every single week.”

After Liz Williams, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum director, approached him more than two years ago, Hughes’ realized vision provides a living exhibit, showcasing the flavors and culinary traditions of the South. 

“Every month we are going to focus on a different Southern state — not only the restaurant, but the museum at the same time,” Hughes said. “For that whole month, we are going to work with chefs, home cooks, farmers, producers and do regional specials just from those states.”

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