A new food hall taking shape in the CBD will have some familiar names serving Neapolitan pizza, low-and-slow barbecue, island flavors and other dishes.
The Pythian Market food hall will hold down the ground floor of the Pythian, a historic property at 234 Loyola Ave. Long empty, the century-old high rise has been redeveloped as a multi-use complex of apartments and businesses.
The three new additions will join stalls from the South American-style food truck La Cocinita, grilled cheese specialist Frencheeze Food Truck and Squeezed, a new juice bar concept from the Frencheeze operator. One vendor previously announced for the market, Laurel Street Bakery, is no longer involved.
Though they range from food trucks to conventional restaurants, the vendors thus far announced for the Pythian Market are all using the food hall to open second locations.
“It’s about them expanding their brands,” said Amy Chan, manager of Pythian Market. “Our location gives them access to different customers and areas that are up and coming.”
The market sits along a crossroads of different downtown areas now seeing new investment, between Tulane and Loyola avenues and the nearby stretch of Canal Street.
The longest-running of the new additions is Ancora, which was created by well-known local chef Adolfo Garcia and his partners. It got its start on Freret Street in 2011 and was part of the early wave of eateries that helped revitalize that Uptown corridor. Like the original restaurant, the Pythian Market edition will serve traditional Neapolitan pizza, prepared in a wood-burning oven.
Central City BBQ and 14 Parishes each are based about a mile away in Central City. Paul McGoey, a consultant for the year-old Central City BBQ, said the downtown addition makes sense for their particular product.
“We’re in there cooking barbecue all day, and we have the capacity to do more,” he said. “It’s almost like a food truck for us, we get to take our product to more people in an affordable way.”
A similar appeal drew 14 Parishes, which opened on Clio Street in 2016 and serves classic Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken and oxtail stew.
“It’s exciting because it gives us more exposure,” said Lauren Johnson-Blake, who started the restaurant with her husband Charles Blake. “There will be lots of locals because of the surrounding businesses, but there will also be many tourists, and I’d love to reach those people who live on the other side of the world.”
The Pythian Market covers 11,000 square feet and will have room for 18 vendors, with 14 designated for food and the rest for retail. The market will have a dedicated bar, dubbed 1908. Individual vendors will also serve their own drinks, giving them another revenue stream and allowing them to tailor beer, wine and other beverages offerings to their menus.
Multi-vendor food halls like this are being developed across the country under different formats. They plant a variety of eateries together under one roof for quick, casual meals. St. Roch Market is one local example, and its developer is now building a second food hall, Auction House Market, in the Warehouse District.
Another model is Roux Carre in Central City, which was designed as an outdoor food court with a nonprofit business development mission built in.
The Pythian Market and Pythian building joins a hub of large redeveloped properties in the surrounding blocks, including the Troubadour Hotel, built in the former Rault Center, and NOPSI Hotel, in the former home of New Orleans Public Service Inc.
The Pythian project is being developed through a collaboration of partners, including Green Coast Enterprises, the Crescent City Community Land Trust and ERG Enterprises, a local investment company led by local physician Eric George.
234 Loyola Ave., projected opening February 2018
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