Who doesn't love a good food hall? … In part created by those behind St. Roch Market in the Bywater, the Auction House Market recently threw open its doors to much ado. Located in a brick, Victorian-era building that was previously New Orleans Auction Galleries on the corner of Magazine and Julia Streets, the new food hall also features one- and two-bedroom lofts in its upper levels, managed by Felicity Property Co. Like St. Roch, Auction House Market features several of the same vendors, like Coast Roast Coffee, Elysian Seafood, Empanola, and another bar dubbed “The Mayhew.”
But, there are also a few differences. Aloha Lei, brainchild of Tracey Davenport and Dave Kirtland, features sushi, poke bowls, and Creole-inspired twists. Alpha, an eclectic Mediterranean concept by Chris and Sandy Minias, offers hummus, baba ganush, Greek, and twists like the gyro wrap topped with french fries. HAPPYJAXX by Chef Patrick Kearney is a pro-health joint with lots of salads, toasts, and tea; and SOLA Deli by Camdon Richardson is an “internationally inspired and Louisiana-themed” deli with cured meats, pickles, and jellies. Lastly, and one I am most interested to try, is Tava, an Indian dosa concept by Manish Patel.
801 Magazine St., (978) 500-8099, auctionhousemarket.com
Bunnies in Bywater … Nina Compton, husband Larry Miller, and Compère Lapin sous chef Levi Raines have opened Bywater American Bistro in the Rice Mill Lofts on Chartres Street, a space that formerly housed Mariza. In an effort to appeal to the neighborhood, the bistro is offering an affordable menu, featuring prices with apps maxing out at $14 and entrees at $26, and dishes like tuna toast with bread from Bellegarde Bakery, smoked ricotta agnolotti with sunchokes, and faro risotto with maitake mushrooms and crab fat rice. Bywater American Bistro is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
2900 Chartres St., facebook.com/bywateramericanbistro
Watch out, it's hot! … Do-it-yourself barbecue restaurant Gin Korean BBQ recently opened in Fat City. Only a few blocks from Veterans Boulevard on N. Arnoult Road, this new spot features grills on every table so that diners can cook their meats and vegetables to their own preferred level of doneness, creating a fun and engaging dining experience. Aside from the grill-at-your-table options like pork belly, marinated chicken, rib-eye steak, and short ribs, the restaurant offers fried dumplings (pot stickers), japchae, kimchi fried rice, and bibimbap. Gin Korean BBQ is open for lunch and dinner daily.
3012 N. Arnoult Rd., (504) 309-7007, ginkoreanbbq.com
No chef? … Experienced and skilled Mimi Assad has been fired from Bar Frances recently. Assad was the fourth chef to head the kitchen at the small neighborhood bistro since it opened in 2016 and was an alum from kitchens like Angeline, Gautreau's, and Noodle & Pie. According to Nola.com, Assad had no idea why she was being terminated, and owner Mark Latter has not announced who will take her place.
4515 Freret St., (504) 371-5043, barfrances.com
So sad to see you go …
The final vestige of Phillip Lopez's New Orleans empire Petit Lion shuttered last month. Located inside the Troubadour Hotel, Lopez's restaurant never really hit its stride, according to some critics. Personally, I couldn't get enough of their fried chicken or mind-blowing burger, but who am I? Though, in good news, a new restaurant dubbed Jayne has taken over the space, with Dana Whitmore, previously at Commander's Palace, taking over the helm. Focused on more “local” fare, Jayne offers shrimp calas, Creole Caribbean wings, smoked chicken salad po-boys, shrimp and grits, gumbo, and Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Monkey Board, the rooftop bar at the Troubadour, is also no longer under Lopez's management, but the name will remain, with a menu of small bites also created by Whitmore with a more New Orleans “flavor.”
In other sad news, Hollygrove Market & Farm has closed. According to the New Orleans Advocate, general manager Paul Baricos reports that the nonprofit's cash is tapped, and they can no longer pay rent for its space on Olive Street. Initially formed in 2008, Hollygrove has become one of the foremost resources for residents, farmers, and organizations interested in local food systems. The loss will be great not only to the neighborhood and community, but to the farmers who offered their goods and produce to the market.
Another closure out on Poland Avenue sees the loss of a great breakfast and brunch spot, The Bywater Hideout Café. What began as The Crepe Cart morphed into The Crepe Place Café and finally The Bywater Hideout Cafe & Creperie, serving coffee, crepes, and waffles to the surrounding neighborhood. On February 26, the café quietly bid the city adieu and simultaneously sought a new home for their shop cat Waffles.
Finally, after losing business when the uber-popular Dong Phuong pulled its king cakes, Pizza NOLA in Lakeview had to close its doors. The pizzeria was one of the first to open when most of Lakeview was still a no-man's land after Katrina. Owner Will Samuels hoped the need would sustain his business and it worked for seven years, but just not for an eighth. Farewell! We will miss you all!