New Orleans-Inspired Restaurant ‘Nola’ Taking Over the Former Ryleigh’s Space

| September 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Matthew Lasinski of the Alliance Restaurant Group and Ricardo Jones, owner of Sangria Patio Bar, are partnering on a New Orleans-inspired restaurant called Nola at 36 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. Nola replaces Ryleigh’s Oyster, which closed in May of last year.

Jones and Lasinski are friends with New Orleans Chef Donnie Stykes, who is now the personal chef of Michael B. Jordan, and took trips together to Louisiana to tour some of Stykes’ favorite spots and to develop a menu.

“It will be an authentic-as-you-can-get New Orleans restaurant with crossover staples like crab cakes and crushes,” said Lasinski.

The menu will have a raw bar; chargrilled oysters, which Lasinski fell in love with after trips to New Orleans; crawfish and seafood boils; gumbo; jambalaya; crawfish etoufee; po boys; Cajun-style catfish; and many other Creole-style dishes.

Francisco Lopez, who was once a chef at Ryleigh’s, will be the chef at Nola.

Jones and Lasinski worked with Aaron Joseph and Ezra Allen of Cane Collective on a New Orleans-style cocktail list. Drinks include a hurricane and Abita beers.

Nola will have live jazz bands during the week, as well as karaoke nights and DJs.

A full renovation of the space has been underway on the two-story building, and Lasinski and Jones hope to open Nola in the next few weeks. Lasinski said he delayed the start of construction a few times while trying to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nola will have two levels of indoor seating, as well as outdoor seating on its patio and in its parklet.

Nola will be open Monday to Friday from 4pm to 2am and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 2am. Lasinski said he hopes to open for weekday lunch and brunch in the future once Nola gets in a good groove and can find the staff to fill the extra shifts.

Nola will join a flurry of new restaurants coming to the unit block of E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. No Way Rosé, Cross Street Public House, P.A.L.M., and two other yet-to-be-named concepts are coming soon and will join the recently-opened Watershed.

When asked if this was a new era for Cross St., Lasinski said, “I sure hope so. Some people have a less-than-positive impression of Cross St. As more people open and are doing new things, it will change the perception and bring in a wider breadth of customers.”

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