Bud's Broiler on City Park Avenue, before Da Storm
This photo has been on my personal blog (ebranley.com) for years, because it's both a conversation-starter and a good reminder of a lot of fun times for me. Bud's Broiler is, of course, a local burger chain here in metro New Orleans. This one is located at the corner of City Park Avenue and Conti Street, in Mid-City. It's right next to the Masonic Cemetery and more-or-less across the street from Delgado Junior College. And it's finally back after the storm!
My Bud's Broiler memories go back to my childhood, when my dad (who worked for 35 years at the University of New Orleans) would take us to the Bud's on Pedopilas Street, just off of Elysian Fields and Gentilly Road. This place had the classic wooden tables with graffiti carved in them, but it also had this weird rock-and-cactus terrarium in the back I could never figure out. The location closed in the 1980s, eventually re-opening up Elysian Fields near Leon C. Simon, in the building that used to be Luigi's Pizza Parlor. They lost the lease on that location just before the storm, and never re-opened any Gentilly location post-K.
The Gentilly Bud's was one of our second homes, given its proximity to Brother Martin High School. Still, since I slept in Metairie at that time (I never say I "grew up" in Metairie, because my formative life experiences all took place in Gentilly or Mid City), I would regularly ride the Esplanade bus down City Park Avenue to the end of the line at Canal Blvd. If it was late (after drill team practice when I was a sophomore, or academic games or debate all the years I was there), I'd stop for a Bud's burger and walk back to Canal Blvd. to catch the Veterans bus back to Metairie. When we were on Brother Martin's Prep Quiz Bowl team, we'd go to WYES-TV on Navarre Ave. to compete, then stop at Bud's on City Park after for a late lunch.
When my high school days turned into university days, the route to UNO wasn't all that much different from the route to BMHS, so there were frequent stops at Bud's on City Park. The location is just a bit to the east of all the head-of-Canal cemeteries, so it's close when I'm haunting those locales, taking photos.
To sum it up, this Bud's is a small but regular part of my life. I even made a quick note about the place in March of 2005. When it got swallowed up by about 4'of water in the storm, I was initially heartbroken, but after checking it out, I saw that the structure looked like it pretty much survived. Certainly it fared better than most of Gentilly.
Of course, Bud's Broiler lived on in spite of the storm. The location on Clearview Pkwy re-opened in the second week of September, 2005, giving Kev and I one of the few places we could get a meal while trying to sort out the house. Soon after that, the Kenner location re-opened, and eventually the chain expanded, adding a location just off N. Causeway Blvd., across the street from Lakeside Mall. (There used to be a location in Fat City, but that closed years ago, Drago's taking over the space as a banquet room.)
When one of my Twitter friends messaged that she noticed activity at the City Park Avenue location earlier this year, my spirits lifted. So many of my old haunts in Gentilly drowned on 29-Aug-2005 that I was truly happy to see Bud's coming back.
Of course, fate would have it that the grand re-opening of City Park Avenue would happen while I was in England, so naturally it was my first lunch stop upon my return to the heat and humidity that is home.
The counter hasn't changed all that much. They use a more automated ordering system now, though. Instead of the old paper order checks, the cashier punches up the order on a much-more-modern cash register, which generates the number they call.
Looka how narrow the place is! The owners have expanded the seating by opening the upstairs. I always figured someone lived up there, in true NOLA fashion, but now it makes sense to use upstairs for table space.
A Number 4 with sauce and onions, cheese fries, and a chocolate shake. It don't get much better than that, cap.