The building at 8201 Oak St — previously home to restaurant DTB and, most recently, Jazzy Pete’s — will soon be Mexican restaurant Mucho Más, from chef Julio Machado. Chef Machado, who owns Tacos Del Cartel on David Drive in Metairie, promises an expansion of the menu that Tacos Del Cartel fans have grown to love. He will be running the restaurant with Danny Cruz and Daniel Borst. “I want to show more of Mexico,” Machado said in a press release. “People have asked for this, and we want to give it to them — more dishes from Mexico, more options.”
The menu at Mucho Más will include Carne Asada, Tasajo, Snapper a la Talla inspired by Chef Gabriela Camara, shrimp cocktail, and a classic Tuna Tostada.
In August 2020, three years after its lauded debut, restaurant DTB, short for Down the Bayou, closed its doors on Oak Street. In November, seafood restaurant Jazzy Pete’s found its Uptown home at the former DTB location. The highly regarded “coastal Cajun” restaurant DTB, founded by chef Carl Schaubhut and Jacob Naquin, closed a year after Schaubhut’s death due to cancer. Although an official reason for DTB’s closure was never given, the restaurant, like most others, suffered business loss and uncertainty during the pandemic.
Oak Street is the second location of Jazzy Pete’s, owned by Peter Nguyen. The first has been a popular dining spot in Slidell for 16 years.
Named in honor of the executive chef’s grandmother and inspired by a trip down the East Coast, Seafood Sally’s recently opened on Oak Street.
CEO Caitlin Carney and her executive chef and partner Marcus Jacobs gained a reputation as innovative restaurateurs with Marjie’s Grill on South Broad in Mid-City. The duo had been wanting to open a second place that showcased their love of seafood but that was conceptually different from Marjie’s (named in memory of Carney’s mother). When they saw that the former location of La Casita at 8400 Oak St. was for rent in the fall of 2020, they sprang into action. They signed a lease and went about renovating the space to their taste and needs.
Haase’s Shoe Store and Young Folks Shop on Oak Street is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Four generations of the Haase family have been a part of its business over the past century. To what do they owe their longevity? Co-owner Kevin Caliva, whose mother was born a Haase, said it’s the level of care, service and relationships with customers that sets them apart from other places selling shoes. “Obviously, we carry some of the same brands that other stores selling shoes also stock, but we offer a unique shopping experience,” Caliva said.
Kevin Greenaae’s love of beer and brewing is obvious. When I met him at his new brewery, Oak St Brewery, 8201 Oak St., he regaled me with the story about how he found himself in New Orleans brewing beer in the middle of a pandemic. Greenaae hails from the Midwest and spent the past 28 years working in the maritime industry. He and his wife, Dana Fos, were living and working in Seattle when Fos, a New Orleans native, told Greenaae she was ready to move back home to New Orleans. Greenaae, who has been brewing beer for 30 years, thought that now was as good a time as any to retire and focus on his passion for brewing.
“I was 50 years old and I retired,” Greenaae said.
14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant is settling nicely into its latest location at 8227 Oak St. Chef Charles Blake and Lauren Johnson Blake, a husband-and-wife team, have been serving up traditional Jamaican food out of the Pythian Market on Loyola Avenue since May 2018. While that location caters mostly to a lunch crowd, the Oak Street location is hoping to find its way into New Orleanians’ dinner plans. Charles, who hails from Spanish Town, Jamaica, has a passion for food and has been cooking his entire life. He and Lauren, a New Orleans native, met in Atlanta, where she also fell in love with his cooking.
The once bare white walls of a South Carrollton Avenue storefront are now highlighted by bottles of red, white, rose and sparkling wines from France, the U.S., Spain and Italy, along with some select local and global spirits. If those walls could talk, they would tell of the journey Vino Wine and Spirits took, including delays due to COVID-19 pandemic regulations and the cyber attack on City Hall, as they were navigating the already arduous permitting process. Then there was the card reader that wasn’t going to arrive in time for the opening, and then when it did, it was in pieces to be assembled. The good news is that a new chapter began the last week of June, when Vino Wine and Spirits welcomed its first customers, card reader be damned. Vino Wine and Spirits is the realization of a dream of Allyson and Milton Hernandez.
Along Oak Street, from Carrollton Avenue to the river, the toll of the coronavirus pandemic is clear: at least 13 stores and restaurants have signs announcing their storefronts are closed due to the virus. But for the businesses that have held on so far, the initial panic has worn off, and there’s hope that they’ll make it to the other end of this crisis. “I’ve learned you’ve just got to adapt. You’ve got to be so flexible,” said Chamain O’Mahony, co-owner of the bakery Breads On Oak. O’Mahony had to shut down her bakery’s downtown location, as foot traffic there has essentially disappeared, but she’s still doing take-out Thursday through Sunday on Oak Street.
The economic effects of coronavirus reverberated across New Orleans on Monday, with local store owners describing feelings of bewilderment and anxiety as they considered how the virus would affect their bottom line. While some are cautiously optimistic, others have despaired of being able to keep their business alive through the pandemic. “If it lasts for months, then most people won’t survive,” said Bettye Barrios, owner of the home goods store Aux Belles Choses on Magazine Street. “We’ve been here 29 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Just one customer entered Barrios’ shop on Monday. She sells linens, soaps, and gifts, many imported from France and England, but she had to cancel an upcoming business trip to Europe.
By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger
For Allyson and Milton Hernandez, the dream of opening a wine shop just off Oak Street started fermenting back in June. “We live in the neighborhood and didn’t see anything like it,” said Milton Hernandez, with Allyson Hernandez adding: “We thought ‘why not us.’”
Their business, Vino Wine and Spirits, is tentatively scheduled to open at 1124 S. Carrollton Ave. in March 2020 if a zoning change and permits are approved. A City Planning Commission hearing, scheduled on Jan. 14, is for a specific zoning request for a conditional use to permit the retail sale of packaged alcoholic beverages, according to the business’s land-use application.