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The Rouses Markets store set to open in New Orleans’ Arts District near the Super Dome on Nov. 15 is not only the company’s 38th store, but also the first full-service market in downtown New Orleans since the A.M. & J. Solari Market and Food Emporium closed in 1965.
“This is so much more than a traditional grocery store,” said Donny Rouse of Thibodaux, La.-based Rouse, which employs 5,200 people at stores in Louisiana and Mississippi. “It’s a completely new culinary concept for New Orleans.” Thousands of gourmet, specialty, local and international groceries line the aisles of the new location, and among the store associates are professional chefs, bakers, sommeliers, baristas, gelato makers and a cheesemonger.
“At 6 a.m., customers can start their mornings with hot brewed French Market coffee, espresso and fresh baked gourmet donuts at our Coffee Bar,” noted Rouse. “And the offerings just get bigger and better from there.” Throughout the day, store chefs will bake pizzas and calzones, roll burritos, and make fresh pressed paninis, pastas, sushi and soup. “We really like to think of our prepared food department as a restaurant within our store,” added Rouse.
The produce department will carry hydroponic herbs, lettuces and tomatoes, as well as natural and organic bulk foods. The seafood department will boast 12 types of oysters and a wide assortment of whole fish. The butcher shop will offer Kobe Waygu beef and dry-aged USDA Choice Angus beef, in addition to Berkshire pork, lamb, veal and natural chicken.
“We have an outstanding selection of specialty and international groceries integrated throughout the store,” observed Rouse, adding that many local items are represented, courtesy of such favorite New Orleans food businesses as Sucre, Maple Street Patisserie and the St. James Cheese Co. The coffee shop serves French Market Coffee.
Further store highlights include a bakery with Rouses signature specialty cakes, pastries, artisan breads and gourmet doughnuts made fresh in the store; a cheese shop with hundreds of varieties of cheese and an expanded assortment of charcuterie; a reserve collection of fine wines; and the largest single bottle-beer selection of any supermarket.
“We also put in a greatly expanded health-and-wellness section,” said Rouse. The section offers homeopathic products, vitamins, herbs, supplements, and organic bath, body and hair care products. Additionally, the store stocks hundreds of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low-sodium, vegan, vegetarian and organic offerings, including baby food and frozen foods.
Rouses acquired A&P’s Southern Division in 2007, giving the company its first location within New Orleans at that time.