Acknowledging the desire for more neighborhood-based full-service groceries, the New Orleans City Council lavished praise over Simone’s Market slated to open this fall.
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and planner Stephen Kroll could hardly hold back their enthusiasm as they introduced the market proposed for 8201 Oak Street in a meeting on Thursday.
“Colleagues, you’re going to want to hear about this one,” Guidry said.
Technically, the market needed the council’s permission to sell alcohol. The alcohol sales will be limited to less than 15 percent of the merchandise on sale to ensure it remains as a grocery store, according to the report.
“It’s going to be a really great addition to the Oak Street corridor,” Kroll told the Council during his report.
“Is that a personal opinion?” Guidry interjected.
“Absolutely. I’m in that corridor all the time,” Kroll said. “But it’s technically true also.”
The grocery will have a farmer’s market flavor, specializing in local products and prepared foods cooked by an in-house chef inside a 3,100-square-foot space. Owner Simone Reggie has said she will draw on her experience and contacts with Good Eggs NOLA and Cleaver and Co. butcher shop as she stocks the grocery.
“What we really want to do is bring fresh food to the neighborhood, but also have a one-stop shop so that people can go and get their milk, their bread, dinner for that night and a bottle of wine to go with it,” Reggie said. “There’s nothing like it in the city. The idea is that I’ll be able to do this and then drop these models all around the city.”
As Guidry predicted, her colleagues on the Council were happy to hear about her plans.
“I’m excited for you,” said Councilwoman Susan Guidry. “I’m so happy that you found your spot, and I’m just looking forward to visiting.”
The neighborhood meeting Reggie held drew 45 people who all approved as well, Reggie said, and now they greet her in the street and ask for updates. She is still working on building permits but expects construction to go quickly, and said she may hold some “pop ups” in the meantime to test recipes.
“It’s very wonderful thing when you have an idea and present it to the community, and they love it, because doesn’t always turn out that way,” said Councilman Jason Williams. “They would let you know if they didn’t.”
The market’s request won unanimous approval.