Behind the scenes: Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

The heartbeat of Cafe Du Monde -- waitresses who serve what you came for!

The heartbeat of Cafe Du Monde — waitresses who serve what you came for!

As iconic as the Café Du Monde in New Orleans is for us and other tourists, it presented something new this trip: a trip to the back of the restaurant to see “how it’s done”!   No visit to NOLA is complete for us without a stop at 800 Decatur Street. It’s where the Original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand has stood since 1862, and where patient waiters and waitresses continue to please a steady stream of folks ordering cafe au lait and beignets.

Morning shift -- Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans French Quarter.

Morning shift — Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans French Quarter.

Open 24 hours a day (except for Christmas Day and the occasional hurricane), Café Du Monde is a well-oiled institution dishing up white ceramic mugs of their famous coffee and chicory blend mixed half-and-half with hot milk — rich, creamy coffee au lait!

But don’t wear black at Café Du Monde — you’re gonna want to indulge in a three-stack of beignets, those square French doughnuts liberally coated in white powdered sugar.

Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

Rich, milk-infused cafe au lait and sugary beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

The experience begins with a patient, very patient, waiter or waitress taking your order.

Listening carefully to what you want at Cafe Du Monde.

Listening carefully to what you want at Cafe Du Monde.

And then they kick it into gear, waiting in line for trays, mugs, and saucers of beignets.

Lining up for trays and mugs at Cafe Du Monde.

Lining up for trays and mugs at Cafe Du Monde.

And wait some more.  Until fresh ones come from the back served up on tiny saucers.

Will the beignets ever get done?

Will the beignets ever get done?

(Note:  You can even watch ’em being made if you go outside, out back of the restaurant where a window on the world of beignet creation is open for all to observe.  See what you learn when you take a tour of the Quarter?)

Peeking in through the back window at Cafe du Monde.

Peeking in through the back window at Cafe du Monde.

Feverishly, almost sportingly, the wait staff move in.  Hey, that’s mine.  Wait a minute!  Hold up!  I’ve got that one!  

Last stop:  big urns for straight-up black coffee or cafe au lait. 

Pouring coffee at Cafe Du Monde

Pouring coffee at Cafe Du Monde

Calmly, as if scurrying would be beneath the dignity of a Café Du Monde server, waiters return to their tables without spilling any of their now-famous Acadian blend of coffee and chicory and sure-to-please beignets.

Order up!

Order up!

It’s what you don’t want to miss in New Orleans.  Whether you’re right out front — or behind the scenes!

Signature mugs from Cafe Du Monde

Signature mugs from Cafe Du Monde

 

Cafe Du Monde, 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA; cafedumonde.com; Mail Order: 1-800-772-2927.

Check out all our posts on Travel Series: New Orleans here.

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Food, Louisiana, New Orleans, Restaurant, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Behind the scenes: Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

  1. I am laughing. My first thought was I am still getting powdered sugar out of my clothing… and then I read your admonition about not wearing black! 🙂 Great post and fond memories. –Curt

  2. JudyinFrance says:

    I went there once. I think I ate a salad for lunch. That was definitely the wrong thing to eat!!
    Judy

    • Well, you may want to incorporate something we say all the time into your well-used statements: “Just have to go back, I guess!” There’s always next time, I guess. And I have lots of places I’d like to “do over”!

  3. Love it! Proof positive that something as seemingly simple as coffee and beignets can create a highly memorable travel experience with a deep sense of place. And a great blog post, too! 🙂

  4. We’re huge fans of CDM and have been from our early days in NOLA. When we lived there, any party night in the Quarter ended with a stop for some coffee and beignets before grabbing the streetcar home. The sugar and caffeine counteracted the alcohol to help make the walk from St. Charles back to our apartment just south of Magazine Street. Great post, but the bad news is that you’ve made me very hungry. ~James

    • I’m hungry just writing about this place!!! And we’ve eaten beignets at other places — all good, by the way. But there’s just something about going back to where it all began! Thanks for reminding me that coffee & beignets is an antidote to good times in NOLA!

  5. Pingback: Behind the scenes: Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans | Just an Opinion

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