Continental Provisions
The folks behind Cleaver & Co., St. James Cheese Company and Bellegarde Bakery constitute a mutual appreciation society, and before it fell through last year were talking about a collaboration at the St. Roch Market on St. Claude Avenue. The relationship makes sense, as each supplies the best of their respective products in town: St. James does cheese, Cleaver is a butcher shop that also makes charcuterie and Bellegarde’s Graison Gill bakes some of the best bread you’ll ever taste.

Cleaver & Co.’s Seth Hamstead told me that after their St. Roch plan didn’t work out, they continued to talk about a way to work together. They were impressed by what French Market Corporation executive director Jon Smith was doing with the historic market, and when the chance to respond to a request for proposals for a stall came up, they applied and were accepted. That stall, Continental Provisions, opened at the tail end of December 2014 with a small menu of customizable grilled cheese and other sandwiches, a selection of local and imported cheeses and cured meats, and fresh loaves of artisan bread.

Current regulations prohibit Cleaver & Co. from selling their products through Continental Provisions, but they’re working on a solution that will allow the new venture to offer Cleaver’s products as well. Continental Provisions is open daily in the French Market at 1008 N. Peters St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 407-3437 to find out what they’ve got available.

Bruning’s Bar and More

When James Denio, co-owner with chef Nathanial Zimet of Riverbend restaurant Boucherie, told me they planned to open a new place serving frozen daiquiris and chicken wings, I kept waiting for the punch line. But Denio wasn’t joking, and having given it more thought (and because I know what Denio and Zimet can do) I’m looking forward to checking out the new venture, which they’ve named Bourré, and which will open soon at Boucherie’s current location of 8115 Jeannette St.

Boucherie isn’t closing; it’s moving around the corner into the space at 1506 S. Carrollton Ave. formerly occupied by Café Granada. The plan was to have both restaurants up and running by the end of 2014, but as I write the new space isn’t ready and both are shuttered.

The daiquiris at Bourré will be served from the same sort of rotating machines you often see, but the ingredients going into them will be fresh and made with the same level of detail as the craft cocktails at Boucherie. In addition to wings, the restaurant will serve small plates; expect vegetarian options and diverse influences – Zimet is as skilled with Asian and Latin flavors as he is with Southern cuisine.

If you’re interested in more information, call Boucherie at 862-5514 to learn more.

Bruning’s Bar and More

When I last wrote about Purloo, chef Ryan Hughes’ restaurant inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., the restaurant was supposed to open “any day.” Hughes is a friend and a talented chef, so I’m happy to finally report that the restaurant had a soft opening on Jan. 4.

Purloo features a long bar with 20 seats surrounding an open kitchen on three sides. “Open kitchen” in this case is no hyperbole; the only space hidden from diners’ view is used for washing dishes. All of the cooking, prep to service, takes place in the open. Hughes tells me that the actual bar, which was saved from Bruning’s, dates from 1840 and is the oldest in town. That is where mixologist Mark Schettler will hold court.

The tables in the large dining room were made from floater cypress taken from a 175-year-old sugar mill. Perfect for a restaurant housed within a museum, no?

Speaking of which, the restaurant is separated from the museum by a set of huge gossamer curtains that allow patrons to view one space from the other. Starting in March, Purloo and SoFAB will collaborate to feature the food of a different Southern state each month. This means Hughes and a chef or chefs from the visiting state will prepare between 10 and 12 specials each week made largely from products also from the subject state. You can call Purloo at 324-6020. As I write the restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m., but plans are in the works to open for lunch.