Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine are two popular brunch and breakfast chains based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both chains serve Southern-inspired dishes like pancakes, French toast, and egg dishes. However, despite the similar names and menus, Ruby Slipper and Ruby Sunshine are actually different restaurant brands operated by separate companies. This article will examine the history, ownership, and menus of Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine to determine if they are the same or different restaurants.
Background on Ruby Slipper Cafe
Ruby Slipper Cafe opened its first location in May 2008 in Mid-City, New Orleans. The founders were interested in bringing New Orleans brunch flavors like Bananas Foster French Toast and BBQ Shrimp & Grits to a fast-casual setting.
The original Mid-City location quickly gained popularity for its creative takes on Southern and Creole breakfast classics. This success led the owners to open additional locations in downtown New Orleans and surrounding neighborhoods.
Today, there are 9 Ruby Slipper Cafe restaurants in the New Orleans metro area. The company is still locally-owned by the founding partners Jennifer Weishaupt, Erich Weishaupt, and Jonathan Arehart.
Background on Ruby Sunshine
Ruby Sunshine was founded in June 2012 by Lisa and Morgan Hart in Garden District, New Orleans. The Harts wanted to bring New Orlean’s brunch culture to their neighborhood restaurant.
The menu focused on eggs, pancakes, French toast, and other breakfast favorites. Ruby Sunshine’s signature dishes included the Fried Lobster & Goat Cheese Omelette and Bananas Foster Pain Perdu.
Following the success of the original location, the owners opened new Ruby Sunshine spots in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and other parts of Louisiana. There are currently 11 Ruby Sunshine locations across the state.
Ownership and Operations
Although the two chains share similar names and menus, Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine are owned and operated by different companies and founders.
Ruby Slipper Cafe is owned by three original founders – Jennifer Weishaupt, Erich Weishaupt, and Jonathan Arehart. The company headquarters and all restaurants are located in Louisiana.
Ruby Sunshine is owned by Lisa and Morgan Hart, who founded the first location in New Orleans. The company also keeps its business operations and restaurants within Louisiana.
The two companies appear to be completely independent from each other in terms of ownership, management, and financial operations. There is no evidence that one brand owns or operates the other in any capacity.
Menus and Dishes
Ruby Slipper and Ruby Sunshine offer similar Southern-inspired breakfast and brunch menus. However, each restaurant has several signature dishes that differ from the other.
Popular dishes at Ruby Slipper Cafe include:
- Blueberry Jezebel – Blueberry compote, mascarpone, candied pecans
- Moondust – Beignets rolled in powdered sugar
- Crabcake Benedict – Lump crabmeat cakes, poached eggs, hollandaise
Signature items at Ruby Sunshine include:
- Sweet Baby Breesus – French toast with peanut butter, bananas, honey
- Ruby Raw Oysters – Raw Louisiana oysters on the half shell
- Crawfish Emmy – Omelette with crawfish tails, mozzarella, onions
While there are some dish overlaps, like different versions of eggs Benedict or pancake offerings, each restaurant has their own unique spin on breakfast and brunch cuisines. The menus are not identical between the two chains.
Both Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine originated in New Orleans but have expanded to locations outside the city. However, the expansion strategies and restaurant footprints are different between the two brands.
Ruby Slipper Cafe is focused on the Louisiana market with 9 locations in New Orleans and 1 location in Baton Rouge.
Ruby Sunshine has a wider geographic footprint with 6 restaurants in New Orleans metro, 1 in Baton Rouge, and 4 locations in other Louisiana cities like Lafayette.
So while there is some overlap in Louisiana markets, the locations are not the same. Ruby Sunshine has expanded more broadly across the state while Ruby Slipper concentrates on New Orleans.
Here is a summary table comparing the restaurant locations:
|Ruby Slipper Cafe Locations
|Ruby Sunshine Locations
Concept and Vibe
Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine both aim to deliver New Orleans charm and food flavors in a lively, casual setting. However, there are some subtle differences in the aesthetics and vibes between the two restaurant brands.
Ruby Slipper Cafe locations feature bright colors, kitschy decor, and irreverent wall art. The atmosphere is lively and family-friendly. Many locations have outdoor patio seating.
Ruby Sunshine has a similar colorful but more minimalist look with clean lines, large windows, and vibrant artwork. There is an emphasis on being cheerful and community-oriented. The vibe is casual but slightly more upscale.
So while both promote a New Orleans-inspired atmosphere, Ruby Slipper seems to have more funky, eclectic decor while Ruby Sunshine aims for a brighter, sleeker aesthetic.
Based on this examination of the history, ownership, menus, locations, and branding of Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine, it is clear that they are distinct restaurant chains and not the same company.
The key points are:
- Ruby Slipper and Ruby Sunshine were founded at different times by separate ownership groups
- The two companies have their own headquarters, management, and operations
- The menus feature some overlap but each brand has signature dishes
- Restaurant locations are concentrated in Louisiana but not identical
- The restaurant designs and vibes have subtle differences
While Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine both celebrate New Orleans cuisine in a casual setting, they remain distinctly different restaurant brands. Patrons can enjoy the friendly competition between the two chains but should not assume they are owned by the same company.
When craving New Orleans-style breakfast or brunch in Louisiana, both Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine are great options with their own unique dishes and atmospheres. But it is clear these two popular restaurants are not the same.