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Chock Full ‘O Chic
The Chicory’s expansion offers couples new New Orleans flavor with historic industrial edge
The chicory plant has beautiful blue flowers with delicious leaves that work wonderfully in salads and roots ripe for grinding up and serving in coffee. The latter part is particularly true in New Orleans, where a café au lait order isn’t finished until you tell your barista whether you want it with chicory or without. The flavor is peppery and earthy, separating it from your typical coffee. In the same way The Chicory, the well-known New Orleans wedding and event venue, carries its own flair displaying its distinct, rustic New Orleans feel. The exposed brick and brass gas lanterns place you within a time machine showing you a New Orleans filled to the brim with romantic idealism. But now Jim and Cindy Besselman, the owners of The Chicory, have purchased and expanded into another space next door, tinkering with that same sense of place.
The new space, named The Gallery, also has those famous brass gas lanterns, but contains a stained concrete floor and powerful wood pillars running down the middle of its three floors.
“We didn’t know how to describe it at first,” says Brent Bogan, the wedding sales manager for The Chicory and The Gallery. “So, I just thought of something myself and started calling it ‘Warehouse Industrial Chic’ because it’s not as rustic as The Chicory but its still very New Orleans.”
The new building’s three floors are separated into three different spaces, each 5,000 square feet. The first is The Gallery, the second The Parlor and the third floor is a rooftop space overlooking the city. The Parlor and the rooftop space can both be rented for the wedding ceremony and can host up to 200 people.
That’s really the aim of the new space: provide the award-winning accommodations of The Chicory to those who don’t want to have a wedding of more than 200 people, which is the perfect number for The Chicory’s space. The Gallery is ideal for that 100 to 150 seated wedding party or under-200 cocktail reception. Though The Gallery has a different name, the expectations should remain the same.
“Guests are going to get the same service that they get from our same staff and awesome chef,” Bogan said. “I call it ‘Chicory Junior.’ The Chicory has an amazing name and reputation, so [The Gallery] is for the person who wants to get married but want to keep their wedding party smaller. With this new building they can get that same Chicory experience but on a smaller scale.”
Beyond just the ambiance and aesthetic, the food served is tough to beat. There’s a beauty in the simplicity that this venue’s chef provides. It’s elegant but modest and holds true to its New Orleans location, providing such options as Cajun Fried Turkey, Seafood or Boudin Stuffed Pork Loin or Root Beer Glazed Ham at the carving stations.
When he talks about it, it becomes very apparent Bogan is a true believer in The Chicory and Gallery’s food program.
“Our package is one of the best ones in the city,” he says. “Every package includes all these passed hors d’oeuvres and the buffet and food stations. I feel like our menu is a lot easier than everybody else’s. It just looks different than everybody else’s, and we never really have any issues because we can do any kind of reception. We do the New Orleans cocktail style reception, we can do a full-seated buffet or a full-seated and serve dinner.”
But most important of all is that any whim will be met. Bogan is there to meet your every desire, planning each step alongside you. And lucky for any prospective couple, he rarely resists.
“I don’t say ‘no’ a whole lot,” he says with a laugh. “And when I do, it’s because we tried something before and it didn’t work. But basically, we start off with a package and customize it to every individual’s needs and wants.”
And with Bogan’s help and The Gallery as your background, you’re almost guaranteed to find your own personal happy ending with as much New Orleans flavor as you care to add.