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Aug 9, 201208:30 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Warehouse District Wine

A friend of mine sent me an email recently with a couple of suggestions for this column. I can't use all of them because this is not the right space to discuss exotic lingerie or how to cook pandas, but one of the things she mentioned was a new wine and cheese shop in the Warehouse District. It's called Keife & Co., and it's at 801 Howard, at the corner of Carondelet. That stretch of the Warehouse District has some funky corner buildings, and this is one of them.


The address is on Howard, but it could well be on Carondelet, given that the entrance is equidistant between the two. When I visited recently, they were still in the process of setting things up; co-owner Jim Yonkus told me that they had about 50 percent of their stock on the floor. They're waiting for some shades for the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the Carondelet side of the building before stocking wine in the front of the store where it might be damaged by light. What they've got now is pretty remarkable. John Keife, the other co-owner, told me that he wanted to open a European-style wine shop, similar to the places they had found during travels in Italy and Spain.


The current selection at Keife's leans heavily toward western Europe, but Yonkus and Keife both said that they planned to feature wines from every wine region in the world eventually. They're focused on small producers, and most of the wines they sell are only found locally in restaurants. Keife said that their aim is to “over-deliver for the price point” on their wines.


I like wine. I find myself in wine shops more often, I suppose, than most folks. Despite my familiarity with the venue, most of the bottles at Keife's weren't familiar to me. That doesn't necessarily recommend them, but it does at least support the claim that the wines they're selling are not what's normally available at retail outlets.


There's also a pretty fair selection of cheese, cured meats and condiments on offer at Keife's. Yonkus was involved in the food and cheese end of the business at Martin Wine Cellar's original Uptown location in the 1990ys. For the time being there's no food service at Keife's, but Yonkus will put together charcuterie and cheese boards on request.


In addition to the wine and food, Keife's has a select but diverse selection of spirits. As things stand there's not a huge selection of scotch, bourbon or vodka, but if you're serious about cocktails, you'll find something to love at Keife's. Yonkus lit up when he started talking about the various cordials, eau de vies, apertifs and amaros they had available, and I'll be damned if his enthusiasm didn't almost make me want to take a second shot at the artichoke-based amaro called Cynar. Almost.


Keife's opened Aug. 1, and the owners are still in the process of breaking things in. Yonkus told me they had a wine tasting last week on a Friday, and without advertising they brought in 50 or so people. They're planning on doing free tastings on Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. You've got a link to Keife's website above, but if you want to contact them in meat-space, you can call 523-7272. Keife's is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived here his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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