Move over, Emeril Lagasse. You've got some new competition in New Orleans' adoptive son, Archie Manning.
The former Saints quarterback is returning to the spotlight, this time partnering with Harrah's to open "Mannings" -- a sports-themed restaurant on Fulton Street in the Big Easy.
"I know, it's a real original name for the restaurant," Manning jokes, taking time away from his duty as spokesman for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
The grand opening was supposed to be this month, but construction setbacks have postponed that until the new year. That gives Manning and his partners more time to focus on the details and develop the menu. They've just hired an executive chef and their plan is to do lunch big.
"We've talked about besides having the normal New Orleans dishes maybe more of a diner feel -- some plate lunches, a lot of vegetables and things like that," the football patriarch says.
Don't worry, though: All the classics will be on the menu. Manning calls himself a "fried chicken guy", but having lived in the city for the past 40 years, he can't get enough po' boys and gumbo.
"I love crawfish. I didn't even know what they were growing up in Mississippi," he says. "We used to catch 'em and throw 'em back."
The restaurant will also be covered in sports memorabilia. Manning is a self-professed pack rat and has opened up a storage unit filled with relics from his and his sons' playing days to be displayed throughout the space.
"There's some of the boys' high school stuff," Manning says. "We have plenty of stuff when Peyton was at Tennessee and Eli was at Ole Miss. I was a rookie with the New Orleans Saints 40 years ago, so there’s some old stuff in there."
As for Emeril, Manning says he hasn't gotten a chance to run into the city's most famous chef to discuss his eponymous restaurant.
"You know Emeril, he may be the busiest guy," Manning says. "I feel like I stay on the go, but this guy gets around."
In any case, Manning says he'll be leaning on his friend and considers him more of an ally than a rival.
"That's one thing I've noticed about New Orleans restaurant people, they're competitors, but they're friends," he says. "Since the storm, we all want people to come back to New Orleans. We're all in this thing together."
And fans, tourists and locals alike will, no doubt, be lining Fulton Street whenever Mannings opens its doors.