Here Today, a weekend popup in the Lower Garden District had its soft opening March 5. The endeavor is run by Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette, and includes popular ice cream popup Lucy Boone Ice Cream, and newcomer Patron Saint Wine.
Stoltzfus is spearheading the project that will be serving a menu that includes a fried chicken sandwich ($6), pickled vegetables ($8) and other rotating items. Chef Ana Castro, who heads the kitchen at Here Today, will be cultivating a menu that is sure to interest meat and veggie lovers, alike.
Stoltzfus had the idea for the pop-up when he saw the space at the former Thalia location, 1245 Constance St., sitting empty.
“It was just sitting here and I knew that it had a liquor license,” he said. “Because of restrictions, the space is too small for regular dine-in service, so I thought that a pop-up would be a perfect fit. I think fried chicken, ice cream and wine is a good combination.”
Stoltzfus said that he does hope to open a restaurant in the space, once the Here Today concept has run its course. He and Chef Castro are brainstorming possible ideas.
Abby Boone and Aaron Schnell, the couple who owns Lucy Boone Ice Cream (the enterprise is named for their daughter) have been enjoying success with their brand since last May. Here Today will act as a stepping stone for them to learn the ins and outs of owning an ice cream shop.
“We’ve been doing ice cream since last May because it’s always been Abby’s passion,” Schnell explained. “She’s a pastry chef and she wanted to find something fun and creative to do. She’s always loved ice cream, so we agreed that this would be a perfect fit for us.”
The ice cream was an immediate hit. So much so that the couple originally offered delivery, but after Lucy Boone sold 100 pints in six minutes, they knew that they had to come up with another plan. They transitioned to popups and have also sold their ice cream at Hey Café & Coffee Roastery and Coffee Science.
As for what they put in their ice cream, Schnell says it varies. “It just depends on whatever Abby wants to do,” he said. We’ve had over 200 flavors in 10 months. Abby is a big ‘mix in’ person and she just loved loading her ice cream with things like brownies. The flavors are always changing, but crowd favorites like s’mores and cold brew are staples.”
On the wine end of things, Patron Saint, owned by Leslie Pariseau and her husband, TV producer, Tony Biancosino, has all of your needs met with a selection of over 150 wines. At Here Today, customers have their choice of bottles or select wines by the glass.
Pariseau got her start in the wine biz as a food and drink journalist. As a co-founder and features editor at Punch, an award-winning web magazine about the culture of drinking, in collaboration with Penguin-Random House, she writes about culture and has previously written about food systems and agriculture. She had no previous wine experience before opening her wine shop, but has retail experience and interest in wine has always been there.
“Writing about drinks developed my interest in wine,” she said. “I’ve always had an interest in natural wine- small producers and wine with no chemicals.”
Patron Saint champions and showcases family run vineyards and producers.
Here Today will be serving local, fresh seasonal food for spring. Pariseau said that she looks forward to welcoming customers in and meeting people in the neighborhood.
When I stopped in, I had that fried chicken sandwich and ice cream on my mind. I enjoyed decadent s’mores ice cream from Lucy Boone — one bite and I can see why this is one of their most popular flavors.
Because I’m rarely one to pass up a fried chicken sandwich, I dug into Here Today’s version that’s topped with Napa cabbage, turnip ravigote and hot sauce. This huge fried chicken breast was served on one of the softest buns I’ve ever experienced on a sandwich, and I loved the perfect crunch that the cabbage added to the bite.
Here Today is a temporary popup, and Stoltzfus expects that it will be about four to five months before Here Today is gone.
1245 Constance St.
Friday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.
Reporter Marielle Songy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.