Content tagged “Food”

'Business Report': BR investors look to give Quickick a reboot

Legendary LSU athletic trainer Martin Broussard created a sports drink called Bengal Punch in 1958 after discovering that the salt tabs and soft drinks consumed by his athletes weren't adequately replacing their electrolytes.
"He took a swab of sweat from guys and looked at it and said we need to put these electrolytes and minerals back in these guys," his grandson, Trey Beall, tells Business Report in a feature from the current issue.
That's how Quickick, originally called Bengal Punch, was born. Beall says Broussard shared his recipe with friend and University of Florida researcher Robert Cade, who then went on to develop Gatorade in 1965. Cade died a very rich man, with his drink dominating food market shelves all over the world. Forbes has in years past placed Gatorade among the world's 40 most valuable sports brands.

Lina & James Jacobs

"One thing we've learned as a small business: always being open to new ideas, always being ready to change and evolve."

How to do PARK(ing) Day right

The return of the global event PARK(ing) Day to Baton Rouge this Friday will create temporary mini-parks at 16 sites across the city—and will probably cause countless double takes from confused passersby.

Leading the dairy

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has brought in new managers in three departments since quality control problems earlier this year cost the company several accounts and threatened to tarnish the adored local brand.

Kleinpeter brings in new managers as it continues addressing quality control

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has brought in new managers in three departments since quality control problems earlier this year cost the company several accounts and threatened to tarnish the beloved local brand. Changes to the dairy's management team include a new plant manager, a new quality control manager, a new sanitation manager—which is a newly created position—and a new sales manager. The management changes are among several steps the dairy has taken in recent months to address problems with the milk's taste and shelf life, which were detailed in a Business Report cover story in May. In a video posted last week on the company's Facebook page, President and CEO Jeff Kleinpeter says in addition to the management changes the dairy has set up temperature checks for all milk systems. It also records the temperature of each delivery truck when it makes deliveries and uses hand-held computers to...

Enraged La. shrimpers to stop work over low prices

Louisiana shrimpers this morning are kicking off a moratorium on harvesting to protest falling shrimp prices at the dock. The work stoppage, which is of an undetermined length, was decided upon at an informal, standing-room-only meeting of the Louisiana Shrimp Association attended by more than 250 shrimpers from across the state on Friday. "This is not a strike," association president Clint Guidry tells Gulf Seafood News. "This is a fisherman-initiated work stoppage." Shrimpers say prices they are paid for the shrimp they catch are falling below profitable levels. "Opening day of the May season we got $2.70 for 40-50s," The Comet quotes New Orleans shrimper Warren Delacroix as saying at Friday's meeting. "Right now they are $1.35 at some of the docks." "On the New York market the price hasn't fallen but a nickel or 10 cents, but it has fallen for us at...

Holden helps kick off monthlong Trevor's Wish food drive

Mayor Kip Holden helped kick off a monthlong food drive in memory of Trevor Sims this morning, officially proclaiming September as "Trevor's Wish—Help Feed The Hungry Month" at an event at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Before dying of cancer on Oct. 16, 2013—just four days after celebrating his 11th birthday—Sims inspired the community to take up a weeklong effort to help feed the homeless and poor. The drive last year raised enough food and money to provide for over 433,000 meals. This year, those behind the food drive are aiming to raise even more. As 225 reports, the food drive kickoff festivities continue tonight with a party at Caliente Mexican Craving, 1072 W. Lee Drive, from 5 to 8 p.m. Those who bring one canned good will receive a free scoop of ice cream. The event, which coincides with September's Hunger Action...

BR catering business nears opening of event facility in Prairieville

Lauryn's Fine Catering is less than two weeks away from hosting its inaugural event, a wedding reception, at La Maison De Bella, a new venue in Prairieville. Nineteen-year-old Morgan Leger—who took over as owner of the business just three months ago following the unexpected death of her mother and business founder, Lauryn Daboval—says getting the new venture up and running has been a family affair. "My grandfather's been here building floors, and my grandmother's been decorating," says Leger, who's beginning her second year at John Folse Culinary Institute in Thibodaux. "It's a full family business, for the most part." Formerly a strictly catering and delivery business located at 16313 Jefferson Hwy., Lauryn's Fine Catering began renovations on a 10,000-square-foot warehouse building at 18380 Alligator Bayou Rd. in Prairieville earlier this year to expand its business and begin hosting events on-site. Leger says the Alligator Bayou property still needs landscaping around...

'225 Dine': Gourmet Girls opens new food truck Pronto

Kathy Mangham, owner and chef of local catering service Gourmet Girls, is partnering with Hayden Phares of Zeeland Street Market and starting a new mobile food service called Pronto. The truck will be parked in front of Gourmet Girls at 3025 Perkins Road from Wednesday to Friday each week starting at 11 a.m. and serving until food sells out, Mangham tells 225 Dine. However, depending on customer feedback, she may expand the hours down the road. "A lot of people come and knock on the door [of the catering business] and want to know who I am, what I'm doing and want to buy food," she says. "This provides a way for those people who are not using catering services often to get my food." Pronto focuses on garden-to-table foods, using fresh, seasonal and, when possible, organic produce. Phares will help out with prepping and cooking a few items each day as well. "My goal is to cook things that are healthy and good for you," she says. "Everything is served in moderation. There's...

Trying for a turnaround

After months of battling quality control problems that have affected the taste and shelf life of Kleinpeter Farms Dairy milk, CEO Jeff Kleinpeter says the company continues to work hard to restore the quality of its products and is inviting customers back to “try the taste you have grown to love.”

A Day in the Life of a Top 100 Private Company

Photographer Don Kadair spent a day each with three of the firms on our list of Top 100 Private Companies to capture the essence of their success.

Still in the family

In April 1954, a Pak-a-Sak convenience store manager in Baton Rouge named Jay Prothro got the itch to open his own business. The married young father didn't know what kind of venture to launch; he was simply driven by the idea of entrepreneurship.

Lord of the rings

The doughnut shop is an American institution.
Before gas stations became convenience stores, these establishments were one of the few places a consumer could purchase a cup of coffee without going to a full-service restaurant. National brands like Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme spread like wildfire over the second half of the 20th century, sometimes coexisting with successful mom-and-pop doughnut shops.

Watch 'em rise

In 1972, a local restaurant owner named Frank Dedman Sr. made a life-changing decision. Eight years earlier, in 1964, he had opened a drive-in eatery that sold car-side burgers, po-boys and homemade ice cream.

Nouveau tradition

See more photos of the City Club.
At its august quarters on North Boulevard and Fourth Street, the City Club has long been a haven for Baton Rouge's business and social elite.
It's a place where top deals are made, clients are signed and connections are forged. Longtime members refer to the club's veteran waiters by name, and waiters, in turn, can quickly anticipate the members' needs.
For many up-and-comers, holding stock in the City Club is a social right of passage. Some of them will one day serve on the facility's board of directors.

Healthy Corner Store Program helping BR businesses offer healthier options

Four corner stores in north Baton Rouge are in the process of receiving upgrades and improvements totaling $111,600 as a part of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority's Healthy Corner Store Program, an initiative to help corner stores offer healthy options to residents in areas where healthy foods as basic as fresh produce are hard to come by. Participating stores—selected through a competitive and extensive process with about a dozen applicants—include Beechwood Meat Market, Sewell's Community Grocery, Capitol Grocery and Kelly's Meat Market. The program is utilizing resources from Mayor Kip Holden's Fresh Beginnings Program, including a one-time grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, to provide each store with new refrigeration cases for produce, cash registers, dry goods bins, fruit baskets, plastic produce bags and cash donations for each store's first purchase of produce, as well as small business development training through Southern...

'225 Dine': Hanley's Foods to release avocado dressing this fall

Richard Hanley thinks he might have found "the new ranch." As 225 Dine reports, the owner of Hanley's Foods, a local food enterprise known for its Sensation salad dressing and seasonal Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing, says he'll release an avocado dressing this fall. The dressing has a creamy texture made of fresh avocado, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and Spirulina, a super food rich in protein. There is no dairy in the product. Hanley says the dressing is "like ranch, but a lot greener," noting the health benefits of the ingredients he uses. Hanley is still tweaking the recipe, and is hard at work to get the dressing approved for shelves while taste-testing it with customers at local markets. "I've been getting a lot of feedback," he says. "I bring it with me and have people dip carrots in it and try it. They're really enjoying it."...

Lend a hand

There are several opportunities this weekend to help out with the arts in Baton Rouge and the betterment of our struggling communities—two things that are big topics on the Smart City blog. Read on for more information, and let us know in the comments below about other events and causes coming up around the city that need volunteers!

Emotions on high as Hi Nabor begins last week at Drusilla Shopping Center

After 25 years in business, Hi Nabor Supermarket in Drusilla Shopping Center will close its doors for good on Sunday. Jim Crifasi, president of the family-owned supermarket chain, says this will be an emotional week for longtime employees and customers, as well as Crifasi family members. "We've never had to close a store before," he says. "It's not something you ever want to have to do." The Crifasis were unable to come to terms on a new lease agreement with Donnie Jarreau, who acquired the Drusilla Shopping Center in April for $10.5 million. In May, LeBlanc's Food Stores announced it will open one of its Frais Marche-concept grocery stores in the former Hi Nabor space. Hi Nabor has since found a new location and

Another Rouses

Look for a new Rouses Supermarket at Long Farm Village.

Rouses closes on land in Long Farm Village for first BR supermarket

Rouses Supermarket has acquired a 4.8-acre parcel at Long Farm Village and will begin construction later this year on a 55,000-square-foot supermarket that will anchor the first retail phase of the development at the intersection of Airline Highway and the future extension of Antioch Road. The deal, which was originally announced last fall, closed June 13 for an undisclosed price. Court documents list the sale price as $10 with other considerations. But other parcels of similar size and profile in the area have sold for between $5 and $10 per square foot, which amounts to between $218,250 and $436,500 per acre. Long Farm Village developer Russell Mosely declines to discuss the sale price, but he says the significance of having the grocery store in his 237-acre traditional neighborhood development cannot be overstated. "If you are going to do a real TND you have to have the retail component, because the whole goal of the TND is to keep people from having to leave," he says. The store...

Fresina's finding success in getting pasta, sauces onto local grocery shelves

Since the start of the year, Fresina's Italian Specialties co-owners Robert D'Agostino and Daniel Thompson have made a concerted push to get the Baton Rouge company's line of handmade pastas and sauces onto the shelves of local grocery stores, and it's paying off. Formerly available exclusively at the Fresina's store in the recently renamed Drusilla Village Shopping Center—where the pasta is also handmade and hand-packaged—the pasta and sauces are now available in about 15 stores in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and the New Orleans area. "Everybody really seems to like it … we're selling a lot more pasta," says Thompson. "Right now, we're making the pasta, packaging it, boxing it and going to the stores and stocking the shelves ourselves, so we're at the point now where we're looking for a good distributor to give us a hand." Fresina's is also bottling its line of four original pasta sauces at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator. It was only about one year ago that

Plight of the Louisiana dairy farm

The struggle Kleinpeter Farms and Dairy is having over quality control issues at the processing plant is just one of many pressures bearing down on the dairy and its competitors, both in the state and around the country. Being a dairy farmer and a milk processor is a hard way to make a living—and it's getting harder.


There's a new barbecue sauce in town. Cajun-certified Cajun Tailgate BBQ Sauce is the first creation of Baton Rouge-based Jeaux's Boys. The company was founded by four brothers—two of them LSU graduates. The Cooley brothers—Dallas, Denver, Skye and Dakota—named their enterprise in honor of their mother, Jo. While it might seem curious for a chemical engineer, an aviation-turbine mechanic, an actuary and a professor to make a stand in the barbecue industry, these Louisiana natives earned their grilling chops through years of tailgating. Skye Cooley says he and his brothers grew up on a farm, where they learned to "appreciate great food and Southern culture." Launched in mid-April, the sauce with a spicy bite, touch of vinegar and sweet finish is already available for purchase at locally owned stores throughout Baton Rouge, including Alexander's, Maxwell's, Calvin's Bocage Market, and Calandro's Supermarket.

Refreshing the market

Southside Produce, the Perkins Road produce market that bills itself as the largest open-air market in Louisiana, is getting a new look.


© Copyright, Louisiana Business Inc., 2014

Hi Nabor headed to Broadmoor shopping center

Just two days after news broke that Hi Nabor will be leaving the newly renamed Drusilla Village Shopping Center, the grocery store's owners signed a lease today to open a new store in the Broadmoor Village Shopping Center on Florida Boulevard. "We are excited to show what we can do, and we have big plans for the future," says Jim Crifasi, whose family has operated the Drusilla store for more than 20 years, in addition to two other Hi Nabor stores in Baton Rouge. "We think it's going to be great for that area." The new Hi Nabor will be located approximately 4 miles from the soon-to-close Drusilla location, in a currently vacant 23,000-square-foot space in the Broadmoor center. Crifasi says the space will be expanded to include an additional 5,000 square feet. "We're hoping to be open by the end of August," he says. As for the approximately 50 employees who currently work at Hi Nabor's...

Hi Nabor out, LeBlanc's Frais Marche in at Drusilla shopping center

The newly renamed Drusilla Village Shopping Center, which was purchased in April for $10.5 million by Donnie Jarreau Real Estate and will soon undergo a $2 million facelift, will also be getting a new anchor tenant. LeBlanc's Food Stores announced today it will open a LeBlanc's Frais Marche in the shopping center later this year. The Gonzales-based supermarket chain, which will be opening its ninth location in south Louisiana and its first store in Baton Rouge, will be displacing Hi Nabor Supermarket, which has operated in the Drusilla shopping center for more than 20 years. In a statement released today, Hi Nabor's owners, the Crifasi family, say they are disappointed by the situation. "Unfortunately, we have been unable to come to terms on a lease which would allow us to maintain the low prices we prided ourselves in offering our customers," the store's owners say. The Crifasi...

Mounting quality problems put Kleinpeter in difficult position

Few companies in Baton Rouge engender as much customer loyalty as Kleinpeter Farms Dairy. The 101-year-old operation is a family-owned business and a local institution, one of just four remaining dairies in the state and the only one still locally owned. So beloved is the Kleinpeter brand, customers are willing to pay a 25% premium, on average, for Kleinpeter products—which they genuinely believe taste better. But over the past year, problems with Kleinpeter's quality—the taste and shelf life of its signature milk products—have surfaced. Although no one, including the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, is suggesting Kleinpeter products pose any health issues, the company's image and carefully cultivated customer relations may be on the line. The problems have been mounting for months, and now the company is aggressively trying to address them. In recent weeks Kleinpeter has hired consultants, contracted with an LSU dairy scientist, fired several...

Southside Produce to begin renovation, expansion this week

Southside Produce, the Perkins Road produce market that bills itself as the largest open-air market in Louisiana, will undergo a major renovation beginning this week. The family-owned business at 8240 Perkins will be closed on Wednesday, when a temporary, tented structure will be erected in the parking lot. The 6,000-square-foot tent will serve as the interim market beginning Thursday, while the existing market is dismantled, and a new, larger structure is rebuilt in its place. "It will still have the same, open-air feel," says manager David Pizzolato. "But it will have more amenities and a lot more retail and warehouse space." He likens the new steel structure to a firehouse, with permanent walls but also with large, front, garage-style doors that can remain open. The renovation will add about 4,000 square feet of new retail space to the existing 8,000-square-foot market, as well as two warehouses. But the most noticeable change to the market, which originally opened in Denham...

'225 Dine': Local mom finds success at home and in business with dry food mixes

Kim Harris Denicola knows what it's like to be a working mom who comes home tired, stressed and looking for an answer to the question: "What's for dinner?" As 225 Dine reports in its latest weekly e-newsletter, Denicola has five children, three of whom still live at home. "You try to come home and put something together for dinner, but you don't have time," she says. "There are school projects, various sporting events … I thought there had to be other women besides me without a minute to spare." After a few experiments in the kitchen, Denicola started her own business in 2009, making gourmet dry food mixes for bisques, jambalaya, étoufée, gumbo, pastalaya and dirty rice. The mixes come from recipes Denicola and her husband David culled over the years, and feature a little bit of Italian flair. Now, Denicola's Foods has "quadrupled its business and size," she says, and they are in talks with three large grocery chains to be in stores nationwide later this year. Locally,...

Beer sales at major universities show mixed results regarding profits, public safety

Looking beyond the ongoing $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium that's on schedule to be completed in August, LSU officials are considering a number of options for enhancing the experience for the more than 100,000 fans that will now be able to watch football games in person on Saturdays. As LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the Baton Rouge Press Club earlier this week, that could include larger, more comfortable seats, as well as expanded and improved restrooms, among other ideas. And then there's the possibility of beer sales inside the stadium. "I think at some point—I don't know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now—but I think at some point, I think it's going to happen," Alleva told the Press Club when asked about the possibility. He added that "it's something that we have to study and look at in the future." LSU wouldn't be the...

BR restaurateur gearing up for 'Largest Crawfish Boil in the World'

Zatarain's is throwing itself a party Saturday to celebrate its 125th year in business and has hired local restaurateur Wayne Stabiler and his Catering Cajun Division to procure and prepare 25,000 pounds of crawfish for what is being billed as the Largest Crawfish Boil in the World. Stabiler was headed to New Orleans earlier today to begin setting up for the event, which will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Champion Square next to the Superdome. Stabiler says he brought with him seven trailers with boiling rigs that vary in capacity from 1,000 and 5,000 pounds each. He says it will take that many rigs—as well as help from 30 employees or so—to prepare all 25,000 pounds of crawfish, which he procured from five of his regular suppliers in southwest Louisiana. "It might be a little tough to find crawfish around here for the next couple of days," he says. "I don't know if we've bought up all of them, but 25,000 pounds is a lot." Boiling the crawfish—which Stabiler says will...

'225 Dine': LSU AgCenter Food Incubator to renovate, expand

Over the course of the past year, the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, which specializes in the development of local, emerging food ventures, has already outgrown its space at Clyde Ingram Hall. "We're booked every day," incubator director Gaye Sandoz tells 225 Dine. "The response has been enormous, not only from those who want to start their own business, but the general public. It's been incredible." For years, Sandoz had been waiting for Baton Rouge to pick up this type of program. Now, the incubator is in the process of expanding and doing renovations to its current LSU location. Another off-campus space is also in the works, she says. So far, the food incubator's clients have seen overwhelming success. Among the products to come out of the program are Ruth's Recipes hummus, Hanley Foods salad dressings and Elkarita drink mixer. With the help of food scientist Dr. Luis Espinoza, the tenants are learning how to formulate their products. Also through the program, the...

Entrepreneur: Richard Hanley

Richard Hanley has this advice for would-be entrepreneurs: "The best incentive I've had to pursue something is to put it in the calendar, a rock-solid date, and just do it." As Business Report details in its Entrepreneur feature on Hanley from the new issue, the strategy has served him well. In 2011 Hanley, a marketing professional, was mulling over the idea of making and selling a salad dressing made famous in Baton Rouge in the 1960s. Bob and Jake's Restaurant and Club, on Government Street, had served a "Sensation Salad" its patrons loved. Since that eatery closed, so-called Sensation Salads have appeared on restaurant menus around town, but the dressing wasn't sold in grocery stores. "Marketer that I am, I did a lot of research and figured out no one was doing this," says Hanley, founder and CEO of Hanley's Foods Inc. One night in September 2011, he gave himself a deadline: "I said a year from today I'm going to quit my job and I'm going to bring this salad dressing to...

Competing with the big boys

When Ron Lewis opened the first Maxwell's Market on Corporate Boulevard in 2000, it was one of the few specialty markets/delis around the Capital Region. While there were a handful of high-end supermarkets, they didn't sell pre-packaged meals like Maxwell's nor did they do a sit-down lunch business.

Richard Hanley

Richard Hanley has this advice for would-be entrepreneurs: "The best incentive I've had to pursue something is to put it in the calendar, a rock-solid date, and just do it."

Harvest boon

Good local weather, strong prices for key crops, and the ongoing economic recovery helped Louisiana agriculture achieve its biggest economic output ever last year, according to the LSU AgCenter.

Slow ticket sales sidelines Slow Food B.R.'s Dinner in the Field event

Slow Food Baton Rouge, a nonprofit organization that is aiming to develop a sustainable local food system, announced today that its fourth annual Dinner in the Field event has been canceled. The organization's co-founder, Carl Motsenbocker, says the decision was made two days ago due to slow ticket sales. "The event itself takes an overwhelming amount of support services," he says. "Everything has to be brought in for the event. At the same time, we're trying to raise funds for our current farm-to-school programs. We didn't want to risk using the limited fund we had to cover the costs." Motsenbocker says the move is an unfortunate one, but ticket sales were less than a quarter of the figure they were looking for. Currently, Slow Food Baton Rouge is rethinking its bigger events, like the Dinner in the Field showcase. "When we first did this, it was the only event of its kind in the area," he says. "Now, there are all kinds of dinners being done in the area." The organization's...

'225 Dine': Kowalski's Street Eats looks to build off its late-night food cart brand

About six weeks ago, Barry Kowal and his brother, Aaron, branched out from their Tropical Smoothie Café location at Price LeBlanc Toyota and started their own food brand. As 225 Dine reports, the siblings nodded to their family's Polish roots with a downtown food cart named Kowalski's Street Eats. The cart runs Thursday through Saturday nights, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., on the corner of Third Street and Florida Boulevard, across from Schlittz and Giggles. The food is heavy on Southern cuisine, featuring takes on boudin, pulled pork and nachos. The family's Polish roots will come into play in the future, Kowal says, after the brand has been built and the brothers can hopefully create a large, casual fine dining restaurant. For now, they have been trying to cater to crowds downtown and in Tigerland. So far, business has been going well, Kowal says. "So far, we have a cult following in the late night hours," he says. "Sometimes, taxis will swing in with customers, and we'll sell food to...

'Business Report': LSU incubator helps entrepreneurs bring new culinary products to store shelves

Gaye Sandoz discovered her life's passion when she was 7 years old. As a young girl creating mixes for her Easy Bake oven, Sandoz knew then that she wanted to be in the food business. As Business Report contributing writer Meredith Whitten details in a feature from the current issue, Sandoz now has seen her dreams come true. One night in January, 10,000 of her Clever Kitchen Microwave Barbecue Chicken Roasters, each with a recipe book, sold out on shopping channel QVC in 10 minutes. Customers continue to order online, and they give the chicken roaster five-star reviews while asking for new recipes. But Sandoz's most recent success did not happen overnight. She started working on the roaster three years ago, when the single mom was on the hunt for an alternative method to barbecue chicken indoors. As director of the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, Sandoz spends her days helping budding entrepreneurs establish and develop their emerging food ventures, including bringing products to...

Idea to plate

• Test a prototype on people. Collect feedback on flavor, texture and appearance.
• Should it be refrigerated, frozen, canned, bottled or shelf-stable?
• Determine the batch size needed for commercial operation, and scale up your recipe. Determine the cost of ingredients.


Baton Rouge Food Tours

To market, to market

Gaye Sandoz discovered her life's passion when she was seven years old. As a young girl creating mixes for her Easy Bake oven, Sandoz knew then that she wanted to be in the food business.

Uncle Earl's, Three Bones Catering owners to open new bar concept on Third Street

Along with Three Bones Catering owner Chris Meyers, the owners of Uncle Earl's bar on Perkins Road—Zac Love and Brian Ott—announced plans at a DDD meeting this morning to open a new bar concept on Third Street downtown. The as yet unnamed venture will occupy 324 and 326 Third St., formerly home to Latil's Stationery and Office Supplies, with an anticipated opening sometime this summer. The bar, which will offer draft beer, live music and a menu similar to that of local food truck Three Bones, will differ in concept and name from Uncle Earl's. Love describes the atmosphere as a "nice bar and environment where people can come and enjoy some good beer, some good music, and feel clean when they walk out," meaning smoking won't be allowed. Meyers, the new bar's chef, says the menu will focus on plate lunches, gourmet burgers, fries, tapas and specialty drinks, as well as feature beer and food pairings. While the new bar will occupy the first floor of the former stationery...

Maxwell's Market to open new store in Lafayette

Maxwell's Market is expanding into the Lafayette market and plans to open what will be its first store outside of Baton Rouge some time this summer. The newest addition to the Maxwell's chain, which will bring its total number of specialty markets/delis to four, will be located on Kaliste Saloom Road near the popular River Ranch TND in a small, mixed-use development of retail and office space. The market will be about 5,000 square feet and will be a new construction. "We weren't really looking at moving into Lafayette but the developers approached us," says Maxwell's Market owner and founder Ron Lewis. "We thought about it a long time and looked at the market and the demographics, and it just really made sense." Lewis, who opened the first Maxwell's Market on Corporate Boulevard 14 years ago this week, has been slowly growing his brand, at a time when the market for high-end grocery stores has become increasingly crowded with national competitors like Whole Foods, Fresh Market and...

LSU AgCenter: Crawfish myths persist regarding purging, straight tails

With crawfish season just underway, the LSU AgCenter says many myths about cooking the iconic south Louisiana crustaceans still persist. Ray McClain, LSU AgCenter crawfish researcher at the Rice Research Station near Crowley, says one of the myths involves using salt to clean or purge crawfish before boiling. "Research at the LSU AgCenter has shown that the addition of salt to the wash water provides no significant advantage in cleansing crawfish despite the numerous claims to the contrary," he says. Washing crawfish for as little as 10 minutes in water helps remove mud and debris but does little to eliminate intestinal wastes, he says, and salt appears to be of no benefit. "The only way to significantly reduce size and content of the intestinal tract is with a 12- to 24-hour freshwater purge, which is difficult and impractical for homeowners to do," McClain says. Another widespread myth about crawfish involves those that come out of the pot with a straight tail. Many people won't...

New healthy food service concept coming to Corporate

After a couple of years of planning, Fresh Kitchen—a new food service concept that features healthy meals to go—is planning to open its first location at 7474 Corporate Blvd., across from Towne Center and adjacent to Christian Street Furniture, by early May. The food store will offer more than 30 breakfast, lunch and dinner to-go items for a wide range of dietary lifestyles, from vegan to Paleo, says Ryan McNeil, who co-owns the business with Chef Daniel Dreher. The menu will feature generous selections of poultry, beef, bison, pork and seafood, as well as an impressive salad bar. A partnership with The Big Squeezy—which recently opened near the Perkins Road overpass—is also in the works, and McNeil says Fresh Kitchen hopes to capitalize on other such partnerships within the community. "We are working with a nutritionist to make it more affordable and easier for people to adapt a healthier lifestyle," he says, adding that Fresh Kitchen aims to use local and...

Entrepreneur: Dale and Ernie Matherne

Brothers Dale and Ernie Matherne opened Longview Grocery in 1981, near their hometown of Grand Point, without ever having worked as grocers. As Business Report details in its new Entrepreneur feature on the brothers, Ernie was 24 at the time and had a refinery job at Kaiser Aluminum in Gramercy. Dale, at 41, was a real estate developer; the store is located in one of his developments. On learning of their enterprise, their father predicted, "Y'all are gonna go broke." What actually happened is, they expanded the first store, several times, and added three more—two in Baton Rouge and one in LaPlace. A fifth store, in downtown Baton Rouge, is on the way. "The learning curve was huge," says Ernie. "You learn from your mistakes, and man did we make plenty. Every mistake you make costs you money, so you don't make the same one twice!" Associated Grocers has played a key role in the launch of each Baton Rouge Matherne's store.

The neighborhood store

Thomas Edison once said that the three great essentials to success are hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense. Add loyalty, humility, and kindness, and you've a description of how Hi Nabor arrived at celebrating 50 years of business in Baton Rouge.

Dale & Ernie Matherne

"You learn from your mistakes, and man did we make plenty. Every mistake you make costs you money, so you don't make the same one twice!"

Associated Grocers names Breaux as Campbell's successor

Jay Campbell, who has led Associated Grocers as president and CEO since 1995 and began his career with the company in 1972, isn't planning to retire for a few more years. Nonetheless, Baton Rouge-based Associated Grocers announced this morning its succession plan for when the longtime leader calls it a career. Emile Breaux of New Orleans will become the next president and CEO upon Campbell's retirement, the company's board of directors has decided. Breaux, who has been with the company since 1994, will become executive vice president and chief operating officer in the transitional period. The press release issued today by Associated Grocers doesn't specify a retirement date for Campbell, saying only that it will come "within the next few years." "The board of directors felt that such advanced notice would provide for a more orderly and efficient management transition," reads the press release. On Monday, the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society announced Campbell will be the 2014 recipient...

The big split

When Walk-On's Bistreaux and Bar celebrated its 10th anniversary last September, few suspected its co-founders and longtime partners, Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, were on the verge of splitting up.

Local business owner goes DIY with Super Bowl commercial

Shortly before kickoff of Sunday's Super Bowl, local salad dressing manufacturer Richard Hanley decided he would make his own halftime commercial and send it out to friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and email. The 30-second spot only got a few hundred views, but considering that Hanley produced it himself at no charge while fiddling around on his laptop, it wasn't a bad way to pass the time during the lackluster first half of the game. "I thought it would be cool to have my own Super Bowl halftime ad," says Hanley, who has a background in advertising. Though Hanley says he would never spend the $8 million it cost to air a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLVIII even if he had it to spend, his company, Hanley's Foods, hasn't needed to spend much on advertising so far. Since it began manufacturing, bottling and selling an all-natural sensation salad dressing last spring, sales have skyrocketed and the...

'225 Dine': Making groceries with Indie Plate

Peru Sharma got his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at LSU, but he was always interested in cooking. And as 225 Dine reports, like many of us, Sharma loathed making constant trips to the grocery store. "I hated going to the grocery store," he says. "I loved the farmers market, but I couldn't make it all the time." The 29-year-old started thinking about food business trends that focused on delivery, convenience, local foods and fresh produce. Last summer, he teamed up with a few friends to start the business Indie Plate. By December, the startup's online grocery store and delivery service launched, offering fruits and vegetables, prepared food items, eggs, milk, desserts, nut butters and much more. "We started with the idea to be a matchmaker for people who wanted to find produce and foods from farmers," Sharma says. "Then, we started testing out what we wanted to be. We found out that we needed to be that delivery service and didn't want to be dependent on a third party to bring...

Entrepreneur: Frank Marcello

There's an aura of inevitability about Frankie Marcello's restaurant, as Business Report details in a new Entrepreneur feature on managing partner Frank Marcello. The 53-year-old opened the Italian and Creole eatery a year ago. He and the other four investors had chosen the location of the former Calendar's on Perkins Road, near Essen Lane, for its proximity to steady traffic. Marcello, a Baton Rouge native, knew it well. He'd tended bar at that Calendar's as an LSU student back in the early 1990s. "I was kind of the weekend manager," he says. Restaurant work paid the bills; it had kept him afloat during his footloose days as an aspiring actor in West Hollywood in 1980. "I'd never worked anywhere else except restaurants," he says. When the eldest son of Mitch and Faye Marcello—owners of the Bread Basket restaurants—ultimately became a restaurateur, he was moving forward in the industry he knew best. "My parents had been in the restaurant business, and I was from...

AgCenter Food Incubator director hits paydirt with microwave chicken roaster

Gaye Sandoz's daytime job at the LSU AgCenter is to help participants in the AgCenter Food Incubator bring their good ideas to market. But on Monday night, she took a page from her own book and watched in astonishment as 10,000 of her Clever Kitchen Microwave Barbecue Chicken Roasters were sold on television and online shopping channel QVC in a matter of minutes. "It was so much fun I would have done it even if it didn't make money," Sandoz tells Daily Report. In her case, Sandoz took an existing product that had been discontinued, improved it and demonstrated that you can actually barbecue a chicken in the microwave. "I started working on this about three years ago. I was a single mom, and I wanted to find another way to barbecue a chicken indoors besides the oven because it's so messy," Sandoz explains. But the real added value of her product, she maintains, comes in the recipes accompanying the cooker. Over the years, Sandoz has developed recipes for fudge and candy and...

Elizabeth Novak

AGE: 57

That steak on your plate

Patrons of Doe's Eat Place may notice a few more chicken, pork and fish dishes on the menu this year.

Frank Marcello

There's an aura of inevitability about Frankie Marcello's Restaurant.

'Business Report': Food bank employs corporate model to keep pace with demand

"By 9 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning, the line is 30-deep at Hope Ministries' food pantry on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge. Men and women of a range of ages sit on a long bench outside one of the buildings on the former church campus," Business Report contributor Maggie Heyn Richardson writes in the magazine's new cover story on the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. "The room they're waiting to visit is set up like a miniature grocery store. Shelves are lined with flour, sugar, pasta, canned goods, fresh produce, and packaged cakes and pies. A few clients are already inside, taking a turn walking around the single central aisle and selecting their allotment of items. Volunteers walk with them, pointing out today's choices. The amount and type of groceries change according to the donated foods Hope Ministries receives each week." Rain or shine, a different group of clients queues up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an opportunity to fill a shopping cart. "It is the job...

The business of feeding the hungry

Click here to see a photo gallery by Tim Mueller.
By 9 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning, the line is 30-deep at Hope Ministries' food pantry on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge. Men and women of a range of ages sit on a long bench outside one of the buildings on the former church campus.

'225 Dine': The Big Squeezy juice bar is now open

Business near the Perkins Road overpass just got a little bit juicier. As 225 Dine reports, The Big Squeezy, a cold-pressed juice bar on Perkins Road, is now open. The new juice, smoothie and coffee bar hosted its grand opening on Tuesday, and co-owner Samir Abdo was overwhelmed by the positive response. The Big Squeezy's offering is small for now with nine juice types, superfood smoothies, nut "mylks," cold-brewed coffees, shots of wheatgrass and sampler cases of juices. However, Abdo says a menu expansion is in the works. "It's more than just juice," he says. "We already have organic foods and kale chips available. We're working on preparing packaged salads soon, breakfast and dessert options as well. We're going to offer quite a bit. We wanted to start with a small offering at first to introduce the community to this product." Among the juice flavors are Sweet Greens, which features kale, spinach, cucumber, pineapple, red apple, lemon and ginger; Good Greens, with cucumber,...

Seeking the sustainable

I was watching LPB the other night, which is what I do whenever Diners, Drive-ins and Dives isn't airing, and I came across a wonderful documentary by filmmaker Kevin McCaffrey called Cajun Food Traditions Now. It isn't new (LPB first aired the piece in 2011), but it was new to me.

Audit says La. lax in its oversight of WIC program

A new audit says Louisiana's public health office has done a poor job of monitoring a federal nutrition program that provides food to poor women and children. The Associated Press reports Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office reviewed the Office of Public Health's administration of the program known as WIC. The audit says OPH didn't verify grocery prices charged through the program, overpaid for food, didn't follow regulations governing the program and often didn't sanction vendors for unsanitary conditions in stores or expired products on shelves. The Department of Health and Hospitals, which oversees OPH, requested the review of the program, which cost $126 million in the 2012 fiscal year. OPH uses self-reported sales data and store location information to assign vendors to seven different tiers dictating what prices vendors can charge for WIC foods. The audit says OPH assigned 43% of WIC vendors to an incorrect tier. "As a result," the audit says, "vendors may have...

Thanksgiving dinner costs up 9% this year, LSU AgCenter survey says

The average Baton Rouge family will spend about 9% more this year to put on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10, according to the LSU AgCenter's annual survey of holiday food prices. Based on an American Farm Bureau Federation shopping list—which includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in 10-serving quantities—the survey says a Thanksgiving dinner will cost $48.50 this year, or $4.15 more than last year's average cost. The survey estimates the cost of a 16-pound turkey at $22.19, or roughly $1.38 per pound, reflecting an increase of 23 cents per pound from a year ago. "This is the largest contributor to the overall increase in the cost of the 2013 Thanksgiving dinner," says LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker. Just three items on the shopping list showed a price decrease this year: one gallon of whole milk,...

Bob Chedville

"Getting licensed with LSU opened up so many more doors for us," Chedville says, "and will continue to open doors."

Most La. households on food stamps will see cuts in November

Most of the nearly 388,000 households in Louisiana that receive food stamps will be hit with a drop in their aid Friday, when a temporary boost in the federal benefit disappears. The Associated Press reports the reduction depends on household size and whether the family currently receives the maximum food stamp amount allowed under the law for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP. The cuts range from $11 each month for a one-person household getting the maximum aid to $43 for a household with five people—about a 5% reduction—according to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS. The federal stimulus bill passed by Congress in 2009 temporarily increased the maximum amount of food stamp aid that people could receive. The increase falls away at the start of November for food stamp programs in all states. "The state of Louisiana cannot prevent or change the decrease in SNAP benefits. The decrease is required by federal law,...

With Trader Joe's set to open, local groceries not changing approach

As local shoppers anticipate the opening of California-based supermarket Trader Joe's on Thursday, the owners of nearby grocery stores say they are not doing anything differently to prepare for the new competition. "We're constantly preparing for competition," says Mark Calandro, owner of Calandro's Supermarket, which has locations on Government Street and Perkins Road. "It never stops. Trader Joe's is just another store opening." Kristina Bradford, the marketing director for the Whole Foods Market on Corporate Boulevard, echoes that sentiment. "We're doing what we always do," she says. "We always try to have great prices for our guests and offer great deals." Meanwhile, Cliff Boulden, co-owner of Bet-R—which at the Perkins Road Overpass is located closest to Trader Joe's among local grocers (less than a mile away)—says all business owners should always be ready for...

'225 Dine': Delicious delivery courtesy of Country Table

Kallie Culotta Svendson and Lauren Beth Slowik are ready to transport the farm to your front door. 225 Dine reports the enterprising duo recently launched Country Table Delivery, a boutique food delivery business. Operating out of a warehouse on Balis Drive, the company offers memberships with a one-time fee. Membership includes a basket of 10 to 14 in-season fruits and vegetables per week, with the option to add other goods. The company has partnered with 18 farmers and artisans to provide everything from grass-fed beef and handmade hummus to farm-fresh eggs and organic cleaning supplies. "I have friends in Austin, Houston and other cities that use similar services and just love it," Svendson says. "I wanted to bring something like that to Baton Rouge." Get your fill of more local culinary news in the new 225 Dine e-newsletter.