La Petite Grocery (4200 block)
By: Susan Langenhennig, The Times-Picayune
January 02, 2013
Ten years ago, Magazine Street was home to about 25 restaurants; mostly clustered on a handful of blocks. Today, there’s more than three times that number.
New Orleans, as a whole, has seen a surge of new eateries since Hurricane Katrina. But the growth rate on Magazine Street is particularly eyebrow-raising.
The 4200 block is a good example. As of this month, there are five restaurants on that block, of which three are newcomers that opened within the past year – Magasin, Saucy’s BBQ and N’awlin’s Jazz Café. Another, Dominique’s on Magazine, is scheduled to debut in the next month.
From a diner’s perspective, that one block now offers Vietnamese food (Magasin), barbecue (Saucy's), pizza (Theo's Pizza), traditional Creole cooking (N'awlin's Jazz Cafe) and fine dining (La Petite Grocery and soon Dominique's on Magazine). If you widen your view a bit to include the few blocks around it, you also have Mona’s Café for Middle Eastern fare and Nirvana for Indian, both of which have been open for several years.
N’awlin’s Jazz Café, at 4206 Magazine St., took over the former C’est La Vie bistro space two weeks ago. It’s the second location for Arthur and Shawnette Humphrey, who also own a café and packaged spice shop in the French Market, where Arthur Humphrey’s grandfather started a produce stand in the 1920s.
With such a constant game of musical chairs, it’s hard to pin down an exact number of restaurants on Magazine Street. On his New Orleans Menu website, local food critic, radio host and cookbook author Tom Fitzmorris keeps a running tally of operating eateries around the New Orleans area. He says the number on Magazine Street has “passed 60.”
His count, though, doesn’t include take-out-only places, bars with food, fast-food places and national chains, such as Jamba Juice, the juice bar franchise that opened recently on the corner of Magazine and Louisiana Avenue.
The number of food and beverage businesses enrolled in the Magazine Street Merchant Association have held steady at 31, but that number only represents the organization's members.
“We’ve talked about trying to form a sub-restaurant/bar association group,” said Sam Farnet, owner of Joey K’s restaurant and president of the merchants association. “It hasn’t come to fruition yet, but I’d say it’s likely going to happen.”
Such growth is slowly changing the pace of life on Magazine. Some boutiques and gallery owners are staying open later and on holidays to take advantage of the dinner crowds.
“We have never in our history been open on Easter Sunday, because Magazine Street was always such a ghost town on that day,” said Evie Poitevent, co-owner of Feet First Shoes, Handbags and Accessories at 4122 Magazine St. “But for Easter 2012, we noted that there were several new restaurants, so we thought we’d give it a try, and we had a fantastic day.”
With Dominique’s on Magazine about to open nearby, Feet First now is considering working with the restaurant on some cross promotions. “If people show their (Feet First) sales receipt at Dominique's they would get some sort of special promo or discount, and vice versa,” Poitevent said.
“Our little section of middle Magazine had been relatively sleepy, and now it’s really filling up,” she said. “We’re excited about it. Food, booze and shopping go really well together.”
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