Growing up in the Louisiana bayou meant passion for food ran deep in Bart Bell, who’s been fixed on a journey through kitchens from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Bell’s repertoire incorporates traditions of Italian, French, Creole, and American cuisines—not to mention the proud traditions of the barbecue pit. And for a chef who can more than hold his own in genteel white tablecloth establishments, the finery of modern dining takes a backseat to his latest passion: authentic sausage-making.
Finding an outlet for his artisanship required a bit more elbow grease (which Bell's got in spades, netting him a 2012 StarChefs.com New Orleans Rising Star award). After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2004, Bell—who was one of those displaced by the disaster—was part of the city's rejuvenation, opening breakfast haunt Huevos in NOLA's Mid-City. Success followed tragedy, and soon after cutting the ribbon on Huevos, Bell opened Crescent Pie & Sausage Company next door, a space from which he churns out freshly made sausage with modern savvy and old-school passion (Huevos closed in 2011).
Artisan to the core, Bell and business partner Jeff Baron (who approached Bell when he was a sous chef at NOLA’s Cuvée) even got hands-on in the look of the restaurant. Together, they salvaged old lumber from a nearby condemned building and gave their restaurant some of the spirit—and savor—of salvaged New Orleans.