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May 9, 201309:31 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Whole Foods Market and More Coming to Mid-City

Two men stand behind the cheese counter at the Whole Foods Market NYC Bowery location. A Whole Foods is set to come to Mid-City at the corner of Broad and Bienville Streets.

Whole Foods MarketĀ®

A few months ago I heard that the old Schwegmann's at Broad and Bienville was going to become a Whole Foods Market. I live a dozen blocks from that location, so I was pretty excited, both because I like Whole Foods and because that particular corner has been an ungodly eyesore for years. As you are reading this, a groundbreaking ceremony is underway at the site of the new development, which as it turns out includes more than just a Whole Foods Market. Here is the press release, which I have lightly edited for your benefit:


On Thursday, May 9, L+M Development Partners and Broad Community Connections will break ground on a 60,000 square-foot development on Broad Street called the ReFresh Project. The fresh food access development will include a new Whole Foods Market, Liberty’s Kitchen full service café and commercial kitchen, and The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University. The ReFresh Project, a fresh food access development, has the dual purpose of anchoring economic development in the Broad Street commercial corridor and delivering much-needed, high quality fresh foods and groceries to underserved communities along Broad Street.


The project is an adaptive reuse of the former Schwegmann Bros. grocery building, which has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tenants include:

· Whole Foods Market, who will operate a 25,000-square-foot store;

· Liberty’s Kitchen, a non-profit with the dual purpose of providing culinary and life-skills training program for at-risk youth and a healthy school meal provider for public schoolchildren; and

· Tulane University’s new Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, which will be a first-of-its kind teaching kitchen serving community members, medical students, and practicing medical professionals.


The ReFresh Project will also include indoor and outdoor community space for programs that will promote the health, wellness, and vitality of the surrounding neighborhoods, such as gardening, fitness, and education classes. The development will also include the central office for FirstLine Schools.


I am not a fan of marketing language, and I think were I promoting the event today, I might have written it differently, but the bottom line is that the development is going to be a great thing for Mid-City. I don't know how that particular location is going to support a Whole Foods, but I'm not going to complain. And any groceries willing to come into underserved communities in New Orleans are welcome in my book.


So while I won't be at the groundbreaking today, I'll be following the development with interest.

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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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