Turkey and the Wolf is a small space on the corner of Jackson and Annunciation in the heart of New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighborhood. Though it’s an unassuming little place, it was given one of the highest awards for new restaurants. Each year, Bon Appetit names Best New Restaurant of the Year to ten lucky newcomers, and Turkey and the Wolf was at the top of the list. The Best New Restaurant—a sandwich shop? Well, Turkey and the Wolf is no ordinary sandwich shop.
Walking in, you’re greeted by a large line of people out the door passing slim paper menus back through the line. You can instantly tell that the driving motivation behind Turkey and the Wolf is nostalgia—with mismatched plates and glasses (all sourced by owner Mason Hereford’s mother), fun salt and pepper shakers and a huge brightly-colored mural on the outside of the place.
Mason Hereford opened Turkey and the Wolf in 2016 and began with a simple sandwich: one from his childhood. A ham sandwich (though the one he ate when he was younger was turkey) with cranberry, herb mayo, 2-year-old cheddar and arugula on a French roll. It’s the starting item on the menu and more sophisticated than it sounds. It’s delicious.
Hereford says he was influenced by his nostalgic childhood in the early 90s, which plainly inspires everything from food to décor, according to his interview with Bon Appetit. As such, the menu reads like a child prodigy created it. With simple twists on favorite sandwiches, creative cocktail choices (with names like Snickerpoodle My Labradoodle and Hillbilly Hotbox) and vanilla soft serve, complete with magic shell or tahini and date molasses, it’s clearly the work of a creative genius (or a crazy genius) in the kitchen.
However, it’s the fried bologna sandwich that people come to try. Made with local bologna (by craft butcher Leighann Smith), hot English mustard, salt and vinegar potato chips, shredded lettuce (to which Hereford refers to as shrettuce), mayo, and American cheese on bread, it’s not something you’d typically find on a nationally acclaimed menu. However, it’s one of the most intriguingly delicious sandwiches you’ll ever try. With a delicious crunch, lots of salt, and balanced flavors throughout, it’ll remind you of the sandwich you wished your mother made you growing up.
Though Turkey and the Wolf is possibly the most unexpected winner to ever grace the Bon Appetit Top Ten, it’s the winner we all deserve. Though a stray from the typical New Orleans food experience (only creole influences here), it’s a frankly delightful experience, and a must not miss for anyone passing through New Orleans.