Turkey & the Wolf to open new Uptown restaurant Hungry Eyes | Where NOLA Eats

If the term “hungry eyes” brings the song from “Dirty Dancing” into your head, makes you think of the ‘80s and makes a martini sound good right about now, you’re on the right track for a new restaurant taking shape Uptown on Magazine Street.

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The logo and design concepts for the forthcoming restaurant Hungry Eyes draw from styles of the 1980s. (Contributed image from Paul Octavius of Eye Eaters)

Hungry Eyes is the next project from the people behind the sandwich phenom Turkey and the Wolf and its breakfast time sibling Molly’s Rise and Shine. It will be a restaurant and a bar, a place where an outing for cocktails or a full dinner could feel equally right.

Restaurant co-founder and chef Mason Hereford said the look and feel of Hungry Eyes is pulling heavily from ‘80s style. The food will come from a broad spectrum of influences and appetites. Cocktails will get equal billing, and martinis will be the marquee drink.

“The space is super ‘80s, so you’ll be right at home if you’re drinking them,” Hereford said.

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A rendering of glassware for the forthcoming restaurant Hungry Eyes. (Contributed image from Paul Octavius of Eye Eaters)

Hungry Eyes is under construction now at 4206 Magazine St. The address was previously home to Red Gravy, the Italian restaurant that relocated from downtown during the pandemic. Prior to that it was the Standard.

Hungry Eyes is slated to open in late spring. It will be a 40-seat restaurant with a patio in back, a dedicated bar and full table service, a departure from Hereford’s other counter-service restaurants.

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The restaurant space at 4206 Magazine St. in Uptown New Orleans will soon become a new restaurant and bar called Hungry Eyes. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Hereford and his wife Lauren Agudo are partnering in the restaurant with Phil Cenac, now a chef at Turkey and the Wolf. Others from the earlier restaurants are integral to the new one.

Kate Mirante, the first general manager at Turkey and the Wolf, will help run the new restaurant, for instance, and longtime local bartender Carlos Quinonez will run the cocktail program.

“There’s way too much talent working in those two buildings, so it’s time to provide an opportunity to grow together,” Hereford said, referring to his first two restaurants.

While the menu is still under development, Hereford said it begins with the same guiding principles as Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine, though it will be more refined. With mid-range prices, Hereford said, there’s room for the kitchen to work in some of the higher-dollar ingredients he and Cenac love to use.

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The restaurant space at 4206 Magazine St. in Uptown New Orleans will soon become a new restaurant and bar called Hungry Eyes. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

From there, the menu will be wide open for dishes that dishes that pair well with cocktails.

“It’s punchy flavors, big, fun, a lot that are meant to be shared,” he said.

At the same time, Hereford pointed out, they’re working hard to make sure the restaurant feels comfortable and accessible for solo visitors too.

“We want everyone that comes in here to feel welcome and cool and sexy in this space,” he said.

To define that space, the partners are working closely with on design with Paul Octavius, founder of the Chicago-based design firm Eye Eaters.

They had plans for Hungry Eyes in the works before the pandemic but put those on hold as the crisis grew. Hereford said he’s grateful they did, because the concept developed much more in the intervening time.

“We had no idea how not ready we were back then, but now I think we’re really ready,” he said.

It’s already been an eventful year for Hereford’s crew. In January, Colleen Quarls and Liz Hollinger of Molly’s Rise and Shine were named to the list of semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation awards, in the regional category of Best Chef: South. Winners will be announced in June.

Turkey and the Wolf opened in 2016 in a small cinderblock building on Jackson Avenue, which had previously seen a barbecue spot and wing joint come and go.

In 2017, Bon Appétit named the sandwich shop its top new restaurant in America. Popular before the national accolade, the eatery has drawn long queues of both curiosity seekers and devoted regulars ever since. Molly’s Rise and Shine opened in 2018.

Hungry Eyes

4206 Magazine St., projected opening late spring 2023

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