Ray Cannata has eaten at over 750 New Orleans restaurants, so he knows a thing or two about hanging out. Margo Moss has turned Ted's Frostop from a greasy spoon into a considerably less greasy but not quite silver spoon. When the sun goes down on The NOLA Brewing Tap Room in the Irish Channel, Ray and Margo entertain members of New Orleans restaurant community. Their guests bring along a friend, a +1. Anything can happen.
The Zen Temple is on the 4th floor of a Camp Street building in downtown New Orleans. Okay, it doesn't look exactly like this picture. But on Camp Street, the building used to be Cosimo Matassa's legendary recording studio.
Today, below the Zen temple where the music temple once stood and the greatest of New Orleans music was recorded, the Zen Boogie has been handed on to the next generation: Phil's Grill.
Where once Cosimo built hits, like Earl King's Big Chief, track by track, now Phil builds some of the city's most popular and talked about burgers, ingredient by ingredient. Actually, Phil doesn't build them, you do. Phil's menu has an exhaustive list of ingredients that you can combine into some million-plus combinations of burger. And they're awesome enough to make the Zen master, who lives on the 3rd floor of the Zen Boogie Burger building, come down and break his 30+ years of vegetarianism to try one. True story.
What goes with a burger? That's not a Zen koan, that's a serious question with a simple answer: beer. Phil's +1 guest, buddy and business colleague is Kirk Coco, founder of NOLA Brewing Company.
Kirk and Phil share an energy and passion for their businesses that can be best summed up in one Zen word: happy. The sheer joy of making burgers and beer shines through so brightly in everything Phil and Kirk talk about - from early failures to later success and even new competition - that you'd have to believe these guys would be cranking out bison burgers on an onion bun and NOLA Brown Ale even if nobody bought it.