This Neighborhood Gem Is an Emblem of the French Quarter’s Acclaimed Culinary Scene
A vibrant collision of divergent cuisines and cultures, North Park sets the stage for a unique Creole-inspired eatery. Nestled in this colorful San Diego neighborhood, Louisiana Purchase has garnered a reputation as a community hotspot, extending its Southern hospitality to West Coast locals. Under the guidance of Chef Quinnton Austin (fondly known as Chef Q), Louisiana Purchase defines its cuisine through dishes reminiscent of the French Quarter’s beloved classics, curated to satisfy diverse palates. Their food carries the weight of New Orleans’ Cajun-heavy culinary scene yet is balanced by the fresh, seasonal ingredients that characterize SoCal’s gastronomy—something that sets the exotic eatery apart from North Park’s competing restaurants.
With a zest for crafting innovative culinary masterpieces, Chef Q remains the guidepost for the restaurant’s pioneering take on Creole food. The former Louisiana resident got his foot in the restaurant industry long before he rose to fame in the kitchens of New Orleans. After attending the Culinary Institute of New Orleans—one of the top culinary schools in America—he began building the foundation for his career, alternating shifts from dawn to perfect his craft. “I wanted to learn as much as I could, so I would just interchange those jobs and work like three jobs in a year,” Chef Q says. “It was never to be like an executive chef or sous chef; it was just knowledge. I yearned for that knowledge to know how to make everything.”
The long hours paid off when Chef Q picked up his apron and moved to San Diego. What the city lacked in authentic Creole food, it gained when Louisiana Purchase opened its doors in 2019. While the dishes retain their native Creole roots, they’re embellished with an unusual flair and pay tribute to Southern culture. “Everything here has a story. We try to pay homage to everything in New Orleans,” Chef Q explains. Work your way down the menu and you’ll notice each dish bears the name of an influential figure, restaurant or cultural element of New Orleans. The Dooky Chase, for example, commemorates Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole cuisine (fun fact: She was also the main inspiration behind the Disney film “The Princess and the Frog”).
The only predicament when visiting this French Quarter restaurant? Choosing what to order. Blending Cajun classics with cozy comfort food, like their Spicy Chicken Skillet, there really is no wrong decision. “We take all the best parts of New Orleans, and we put them together,” Chef Q reveals.
As a steak lover, he recommends the Crawfish Monica Ribeye. Looking for a more exotic meal? The Dragos is another go-to dish that is baked to perfection in a creamy pasta sauce—a seafood lover’s dream! The Alligator Andouille Cheesecake is a signature dish and is best savored family-style. Cheesecake and notes of smoked gouda are balanced by a tinge of sweetness and spice, finished with a rich and creamy crawfish sauce.
It’s not just the food at this NOLA-inspired eatery that makes it an immaculate addition to North Park’s eclectic culture. The restaurant derives its hip, contemporary style and airy ambiance from the collision of architecture permeating New Orleans’ restaurant scene. Louisiana Purchase embraces communal dining with an open floor plan and no boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces. Beauty is found in the details. A neutral palette, accented with pops of color, combines with modern textiles, including wood, velvet and polished brickstone. Hanging planters trail the outdoor terrace while patches of soil dapple the floorboards, creating a flourishing indoor arboretum.
From the outside, the restaurant projects the image of yet another of North Park’s upscale culinary attractions. Yet, every great bistro clings to a niche that makes them stand out, and Louisiana Purchase is no exception. “For me, it’s always customer relations,” Chef Q says. “I want to be the chef who talks to each table and guest—where I sit down and communicate with them and get feedback. I think that’s something that everyone appreciates.”12/9
Rooted in New Orleans’ heart for hospitality, this team of culinary masterminds remains deeply committed to its North Park family. “Louisiana Purchase is a restaurant where we really take pride in our community relationships,” Chef Q explains. Heavily tuned in to the local community, frequent requests for custom dishes have led to new, exciting additions to the restaurant’s menu. “We do little stuff like that just to show the community we’re listening to them,” Chef Q says.
Cooking and service go hand in hand at Louisiana Purchase. Every Tuesday, the restaurant donates 100% of its profits off a special menu to Lincoln High School, which is home to one of the best football teams in the state but often has trouble securing funding for its program and tournaments.
Their whimsical flavor profiles and personalized customer service allow San Diegans to gain an authentic taste of the French Quarter in their own backyard. “We just take bits of home and bring it to wherever we’re at,” Chef Q explains. “Everyone really loves and appreciates New Orleans culture, our food and who we are as people.”
2305 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104