Urban South talks success, untapping two new brews

By Jesse Baum for Uptown Messenger

From its inception less than three years ago, Urban South Brewery has grown to be the third-largest brewer in Louisiana, ubiquitous in bars across the city. Last year, they brewed enough beer to fill 3.6 million cans, though some was of course sold in kegs or in their taproom on Tchoupitoulas Street. After creating dozens of different craft beers over the years, Urban South is releasing two more brews this Friday — two types of “pastry stouts.” “It’s been pretty fast,” said Jacob Landry, the founder and president of the company. Since they opened in a giant former warehouse on Tchoupitoulas, another New Orleans Brewery, Wayward Owl, has already come and gone.

New restaurant at Rouses, new barbecue on Magazine, coffee on O.C. Haley, and Dunbar’s to Gentilly

In a flurry of recent restaurant news around Uptown, the Rouses store on Tchoupitoulas has opened a sit-down restaurant, a new barbecue restaurant is going in next to Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine, Velvet Espresso is opening a location on O.C. Haley Boulevard, and Dunbar’s is moving again. The Cellar restaurant behind the wine section in the Rouses on Tchoupitoulas offers selections that “range from shrimp and grits with Abita-braised greens, to beet frites, bacon- and pine nut-crusted pork loin, ginger pickled peach salad with Tabasco sugar cane vinaigrette, and cannoli for dessert,” with prices from $7 to $12 and a kids menu, reports Susan Langenhennig of The Times-Picayune. McClure’s Barbecue, the well-known pop-up restaurant, has begun demolition on the interior of a building at Magazine and Bordeaux, and may be open by New Year’s, reports Gwendolyn Knapp of Eater.com. Velvet Central, an expansion of Velvet Espresso Bar across from Whole Foods on Magazine, will open by Christmas at 1409 O.C. Haley Boulevard, the New Orleans Redevelopment Agency building, using the additional space to prepare more specialty coffees, according to an interview by Knapp following up on an earlier article by Langenhennig. Finally, former Freret Street institution Dunbar’s Creole Cooking has not reopened in its post-Katrina space at Loyola University this semester, but its owners will open Dunbar’s Soul Food in Gentilly this spring, reports Ian McNulty of Gambit.

Century-old cotton press on Tchoupitoulas to become fresh-food kitchen, office space, apartments

A former cotton press on Tchoupitoulas dating back more than 100 years is slated to become a kitchen cooking fresh, healthy meals for local schools next year, with office space in front and 52 apartments next door as part of a riverfront development just blocks away from the former Entergy power plant. The complex in the 1700 block of Tchoupitoulas includes the Centennial Cotton Press, built between 1885 and 1895, and the Lykes Steamship office building, built in 1949. The old press will house the Fresh and Healthy Kitchen and office space, and the office building will become workforce housing in a renovation by the Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans that is intended to accomplish a number of goals: creating new jobs and job training opportunities, providing workforce housing, improving nutrition for children and preserving a historic structure. “This is not just worthwhile, but one of the best things we’ve ever done,” said Volunteers of America board chair Tom Grace in a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning attended by more than 120 people. “This project really is a multiplicity of projects.”

NOLA Brewing adds a bar; barbecue to replace Rocky’s on Magazine; Sara’s gets a new chef in the Riverbend; and C’est La Vie closes shop

NOLA Brewing on Tchoupitoulas is adding a bar space for tastings and has just released a new beer; more details are emerging on the future of the former Rocky’s Pizzeria space on Magazine; Sara’s Bistro on Dublin Street has a new chef and a new approach; and the French restaurant C’est La Vie has closed on Magazine Street. Damage from Hurricane Isaac prompted the renovations at NOLA Brewing, and the new high alcohol Mechahopzilla was just released last week, reports Gwendolyn Knapp of Eater NOLA. The changes in the 3200 block of Magazine are ongoing, reports Susan Langenhennig of The Times-Picayune: Salu will get an upstairs dining room, Byblos is moving into the old Nacho Mama’s space in mid-October, a tacqueria will be in the old Byblos space, and the former Rocky’s is slated to become a barbecue restaurant. The menu at Sara’s Bistro in the Riverbend is becoming even more eclectic under the direction of new manager and consulting chef Bart Thomas and his interest in “modern New World cuisine,” reports Ian McNulty of The Gambit. After opening in January, C’est La Vie at 4206 Magazine apparently closed earlier this month, reports Knapp at Eater NOLA, and the building owner is already taking calls from possible new tenants.

After months of city scrutiny, The Show bar on Tchoupitoulas gives up liquor license

After sitting on the docket of the city alcohol board for six months as police conducted raids and investigated shootings nearby, The Show bar on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Lower Garden District abruptly surrendered its liquor license Tuesday afternoon. The bar faced charges of maintaining a nuisance and allowing illegal conduct, and was first brought to the attention of the city Alcohol Beverage Control board in April. In June, New Orleans police raided the establishment, arresting one man on a marijuana possession charge while state agents cited the bar for several counts of narcotics and minors inside. Police said at the time that they had investigated a previous shooting there and found employees attempting to move the crime scene outside. A few weeks later, a man was wounded in a shooting just after leaving the bar.

Demolition requests on Tchoupitoulas and Zimple to be heard Tuesday

A pair of Tulane University properties in the 7000 block of Zimple and a pair of homes next to the carwash on Tchoupitoulas are among the demolition requests slated to come before the city Tuesday. The two buildings on Zimple Street are both owned by Tulane University, and sit on the university side of Broadway Street. The property at 7008 Zimple is known as the Tate House (home to the Center for Global Education), and 7016 Zimple is listed as part of the Institute for Environmental Law and and Office for Continuing Legal Education. The home at 5518 Tchoupitoulas is owned by Carwash Blues LLC under the same address as Uptown Carwash, at the end of the block. Ownership information for 5514 Tchoupitoulas is currently unavailable in the city’s property ownership database.

Demolition requests on Tchoupitoulas and Zimple to be heard Tuesday

A pair of Tulane University properties in the 7000 block of Zimple and a pair of homes next to the carwash on Tchoupitoulas are among the demolition requests slated to come before the city Tuesday. The two buildings on Zimple Street are both owned by Tulane University, and sit on the university side of Broadway Street. The property at 7008 Zimple is known as the Tate House (home to the Center for Global Education), and 7016 Zimple is listed as part of the Institute for Environmental Law and and Office for Continuing Legal Education. The home at 5518 Tchoupitoulas is owned by Carwash Blues LLC under the same address as Uptown Carwash, at the end of the block. Ownership information for 5514 Tchoupitoulas is currently unavailable in the city’s property ownership database.

City recommends keeping apartments on State and Tchoupitoulas, DePaul site on Calhoun as-is

Neighbors concerned about the future of two large Uptown properties near Audubon Park — an apartment complex on Tchoupitoulas and a mental health facility on Calhoun — received hopeful signs Tuesday night that the city is inclined to prevent major changes to either of them. In their formal recommendations to the City Planning Commission, the planning staff concludes that the DePaul mental health facility retain its current land-use, low-density residential — a decision that drew from its immediate neighbors. The apartment complex at State and Tchoupitoulas is recommended for a medium-density residential land-use to promote its redevelopment as another apartment complex, which would assuage neighbors’ fears of a commercial project there but still leaves questions about how much density would be permitted, they said at a Tuesday evening public hearing. DePaul campus

The 12-acre DePaul campus between Henry Clay Avenue and Audubon Park (also known as the Children’s Hospital Calhoun Campus) had originally been given an “institutional” future land use by the city staff, but City Councilwoman Susan Guidry asked the planning staff to review that decision. Neighbors of the site have been arguing for months that the site is residential in character, and that its official designation should not allow for a dramatic build out as a full-service hospital.

Noted chefs now serving food at nearby Uptown bars

J’Anitas has launched a curiously named satellite — Stihl-Moore J’Anitas — at Grits bar on Lyons Street, while Martinique Bistro chef Matthew Kopfler has launched his PPX pop-up on Wednesdays at F&M Patio Bar, at the end of the block on Tchoupitoulas, writes Ian McNulty of Gambit.

Neighbors hope to stave off commercial redevelopment of apartments on Tchoupitoulas

Concerned that an apartment complex at the corner of State and Tchoupitoulas may be headed for unwelcome commercial redevelopment, the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association delved into the arcana of the city’s land-use planning process Tuesday night to cast votes in favor of keeping the property residential. The apartments, bought last December by investor Ben Gravolet, currently sit on land zoned for medical services. The city’s recently-adopted master plan envisions the land for low-density residential use, however, and Gravolet has requested that the property’s land-use be changed to “Mixed Use,” which allows any number of commercial uses. Roger Gorman, director of development at Children’s Hospital, said he had been approached by Gravolet to buy or lease the property, and that when the hospital declined, Gravolet replied that he was negotiating with CVS pharmacy over the site. A resident near State and Tchoupitoulas himself, Gorman said that he would be opposed to that sort of development on his corner — as did several other nearby residents who attended the meeting as well.