“What would you like to drink?” Cole Newton asked as I buzzed into Twelve Mile Limitlast Thursday night. “Surprise me,” I shrugged. So he whipped up a Baudin (his favorite cocktail on the menu) and served it up with tater-tots smothered in pimento cheese. No complaints here! It was a little nippy outside, but the warm lighting and laid-back vibe at Twelve Mile hit the spot. It felt like hanging out in a friend’s living room – with a pool table and a juke box.
Cole told me about Twelve Mile Limit’s beginnings. When he first moved to New Orleans, he was looking for non-profit work but ended up working at Coquette, one of New Orleans’ most popular fine dining establishments. “I saw a couple of people I worked with leave to open up their own places,” Cole said. “I thought, if they can do it, I can do it.”
He found the current space for sale online and immediately knew it was the perfect location. “It’s about a block from Finn McCool’s and it came with a liquor license,” Cole told me calmly. “It just had to work out.” And it did: Twelve Mile Limit has been serving delicious cocktails and barbeque to New Orleans locals since 2010.
During my chat with Cole, a few of the other bartenders and cooks stopped by to offer opinions on Cole’s responses to my questions – there was some heated debate about topics ranging from favorite neighborhood, to favorite band, to most inspiring New Orleanian – but in the end, Cole’s responses won out. It is his name in the title, after all!
“All of my employees have interesting side projects going on,” Cole told me. “That guy’s in a band, that guy’s a photographer, and that guy owns his own bakery.” The lesson here is: if you head to Twelve Mile Limit solo, never fear! Just strike up a conversation with the friendly bartender – you might even end up chatting with Cole.
20 Questions with Cole Newton
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
I came down here to volunteer with relief efforts after Katrina. Afterwards, I stuck around and looked for non-profit work. I ended up in the service industry instead, and well, the rest is history.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
I know I should say Mid City, but I’ve always lived in the Lower Garden District, so…
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
City Park. They’ve got disc golf and a softball quad. It’s just epic. Plus, I’m pretty sure there are wild pigs roaming around in the woods.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
A Thanksgiving pot luck here at Twelve Mile Limit. A bunch of us restaurant business people got together and everyone brought a dish. I got to feast on creations by some of the best cooks in NOLA!
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
Well I must say that here at Twelve Mile Limit, we have really awesome biscuits. Plus our shrimp and grits breakfast burrito is an all-round favorite. But I will always recommend Commander’s Palace Saturday Brunch. It’s just as fantastic as the Sunday brunch, but not as crowded.
7. What’s your favorite po’boy – and where do you go to get it?
Hot sausage at Domilise’s. I lived a block away from that place when I first moved to New Orleans.
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
I would definitely take them on The Cocktail Tour with Elizabeth Pearce.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
11. Snowball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
I have to admit that I love cheap, annoyingly sweet, alcoholic beverages. I always get half strawberry, half margarita at the shop on St. Charles and Carrollton. But I also love getting daiquiris at the movies. It’s just so satisfying, and it’s something I’m pretty sure you can only do in New Orleans.
12. Best spot to see live music?
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
Allen Toussaint. I guess he’s more of a writer and producer, but he has been such a pivotal part of the New Orleans music scene through the years.
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
There is a great stretch on Magazine Street between Jackson and St. Mary that has a lot of options for menswear. Some of my favorites are Vegas, Vernon, Aiden Gill, Branch Out, this new hat store, and a custom tailor shop.
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
NOMA. It reminds me of the museums in Washington, D.C. where I grew up.
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
Section 602 of the Superdome, if they’re in town. Otherwise it’s here at Twelve Mile Limit or at 45 Tchoup.
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
It was December and I was taking out my winter jacket for the first time since Mardi Gras. When I took the jacket off the hanger, I realized it was still covered in glitter. You know, that stuff never comes off.