Libby Jane Cafe
644 Polk St., 926-2540, FrenchSoulFood.com.
Anyone who's a fan of Brenda's French Soul Food — basically a subset of humans synonymous with "people who enjoy all that is glorious about being alive, and who also have the patience to wait an hour and forty-five minutes for a table" — will be delighted that its grab-and-go counterpart, Libby Jane Café, is now open just down Polk Street. (It's named for Libby Truesdell, life and business partner of Brenda Buenviaje).
It's a cute, black-and-white-and-red-all-over spot with room for about six. There's a refrigerated case full of pimento-cheese sandwiches, granola parfait, and other lunch items, and a wall lined with strawberry jam, pickled okra, and the like. The vat of watermelon iced tea that has loomed over many a brunch table is there, and chicken-andouille gumbo will likely be a staple (along with other soups that rotate daily). Chicory coffee drinkers and Ritual partisans will be able to get their fix, too.
In a sense, there is nothing new here for anyone who's familiar navigating the terrain of the beignet flight and that oyster-laden Hangtown fry. Libby Jane is essentially the retail outlet for everything at Brenda's that needn't be eaten immediately. Sure, we're still waiting for the Brenda's Po Boy shop in the Fillmore that's been promised for some time, but since Brenda's is already the embodiment of perfection, we can ask for little else.