After months of negotiations with neighbors about seat counts and parking space, the owners of Superica restaurant have decided against moving into the Smashburger space on Magazine Street and are withdrawing their application before the City Planning Commission today, their representatives said.
Superica, an Atlanta-based restaurant created by chef Ford Fry, is expanding to a number of Southern cities, and in New Orleans had settled on the building at 3300 Magazine currently operating as Smashburger. The development team had intended to combine the Smashburger space with another building in the rear to create a total floor area of about 7,000 square feet, but neighbors in both the Garden District and the Irish Channel said the plan was too large for such a crowded area of Magazine.
In late January, the developers met with neighbors again to announce that they had reduced the number of seats at tables and the bar by nearly a third, but still had not found a solution for off-street parking. They continued to request deferrals for their conditional-use request from the City Planning Commission through February, and were scheduled to appear on the commission’s agenda this afternoon (March 13).
Avery Foret, a land-use attorney with Sherman Strategies representing Ford Fry in New Orleans, said that she felt further adjustments to the plan might have led to a solution for the site. Ultimately, however, Superica decided to look elsewhere for a “perfect fit” for their restaurant site instead of continuing to try to make Magazine Street work, Foret told neighbors in an email.
“We listened, we heard you, and at this point we are going to pull back from this proposed location on Magazine Street and Ford Fry will look for that right spot in the City for its Superica concept,” Foret wrote. “We continue to believe this is an outstanding site for an excellent restaurant, even though it just wasn’t the fit for this one.”
Foret said on Tuesday morning that the City Planning Commission has already been notified that they are withdrawing the request. She said that Ford Fry’s real-estate team is separate from the land-use attorneys, but she believes they are looking for other locations in the city.
“I think they’re still interested in coming to New Orleans,” Foret said.