Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dining in the American Sector – WWII Museum

We had 2 immediate goals upon our arrival in New Orleans… First we needed to find a nice place for lunch and then we were going to tour the National World War II Museum.  We wanted to have lunch close to the museum to save time and also so we’d be able to park our car in the same spot for both activities…

I discovered that the museum had its own restaurants and we were excited when we found that the street address led us to this classic old New Orleans building… Even better, I’d discovered that a famous chef had founded this restaurant!

Back in 2009 John Besh opened the American Sector inside the National WWII Museum.   With its updates on classic mid-century American dishes, such as tomato soup, meatloaf and chicken and dumplings, the American Sector was a museum restaurant that managed to draw diners who had no plans to view a single exhibit in the museum.

Well, our first surprise was that this is the real entrance to the American Sector Restaurant.  It turned out that the adjacent old New Orleans building contains the restrooms as well as 2 private dining areas for groups and events.  Our second surprise was that the agreement between John Besh’s restaurant management group and the Museum had lapsed in July of 2014, with Museum management deciding not to renew the agreement.

The interior of The American Sector restaurant is expansive and totally dominated by this huge bar in the center of the room.  WW II related photos of movie stars and entertainers line the walls.  The room has an industrial feel to it…softened by the dark wood floors and the wood beams on the ceiling.

OK… John Besh and his management group were gone.  The important question came down to the food… How would it measure up?

This was my lunch… It’s the Hot Pastrami and Corned Beef sandwich. ($14.00) It was made with house made meats with bacon infused sauerkraut, Turbo Dog mustard and Swiss cheese on freshly baked marble rye bread.  This was an excellent and luscious sandwich!  The French fries in that little basket was very good as well…

Other luncheon options of interest included a Fried Gulf Oyster Salad ($13.00); the Duck Confit Flatbread ($11.00); a Gulf Shrimp Po-Boy ($13.00) and; the Smoke House Burger. ($14.00) The latter is constructed with barbeque brisket, house made barbeque sauce, aged cheddar cheese, and an Abita onion ring on a brioche bun.

Laurie’s lunch was a lot more modest than mine… She had one of the flatbread offerings.  This was her House Smoked Salmon flatbread with candied lemon, capers and dill cream cheese with a side salad. ($11.00) She also enjoyed her lunch…just the right amount of food with very satisfying flavors and quality ingredients. 

Based on what I’d read about John Besh’s menu, there have been lots of changes.  The current menu is more ‘current’ and those ‘mid-century’ American dishes are gone… Items from the dinner menu include an appetizer of Honey and Bourbon Glazed Smoked Lamb Ribs ($12.00) and entrees such as; Mississippi Rabbit Fricassee ($24.00) and; the Chappapeela Farms Pork Chop with boudin dirty rice and cracklins. ($22.00)

Despite the changes to the menu and John Besh’s departure, we did enjoy our lunch!  I have noted that some current reviews on Trip Advisor and other sites haven’t been so positive.  Service seems to be one issue but food quality is also mentioned.  Still, for a museum restaurant we have rarely had a meal that was as satisfying as this one was for us…

The American Sector Restaurant is located at 945 Magazine Street in the Warehouse section of New Orleans.  Phone: 504-528-1944.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I'm surprised because not all museums serve great food. The exception we found was in Jackson, Ms at the Museum of Fine Arts. I suspect there isn't a bad meal to be found in NOLA. Too bad John Besh wasn't still there, but glad it worked out.

  2. Both meals look very good from here. I like the fries in the basket

  3. Dave that Hot Pastrami looks incredible! That's one museum I want to visit! :D

  4. David I coming running to see what you and Laurie ate!!!!
    I love the flatbread but Im agree with Tammy, the pastrami look awesome!!!!
    just delicious!

  5. You usually don't think of a museum as a great place to dine, but your meal sounds delicious. Too bad John Besh isn't connected with it now. His restaurants are great and so is his cookbook, "My New Orleans." It is more like a coffee table book, lots of great photos and stories. I'm glad you so enjoyed the museum, and looking back, I see it was your father you were referring to. Sorry. :-)

  6. Oh my goodness, I love New Orleans so much!! This is making me CRAVE a return!!!

    Anyhoo, I found your blog through a fellow blogger and thought I would stop by and say hi! It would totally make my day if you did the same... or better yet, keep in touch!! <3 -