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Melba's Will Add Urban Gardens, Events Space & More To Soul Food Compound

The Eighth Ward hub will also add chicken coops, plus 500+ birdhouses used to advertise the restaurant around the city.

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If you've never stopped in, likely you've passed by wondering what's up with Melba's, the colorful 24-hour po' boy and daiq shop/laundromat on Claiborne and Elysian Fields run by Jane and Scott Wolfe Sr., who built the beloved Wagner's Meat and Chicken Box empires pre-Katrina now own a "porfolio" of real estate and a contractor firm post-K. Well, here's what's up: Expansion plans galore, according to Ian McNulty.

The Eighth Ward hub has seen booming business since opening in 2012 and they don't intend to stop anytime soon. In fact, Melba's has already vastly expanded in some aspects since opening in 2012—adding outdoor dining, local art to the point of "neighborhood art gallery" status, boiled seafood, "a steam table selection of New Orleans comfort food" from 25-year Wagner's alum/head cook Lois Thomas, and Chicken Box fried chicken.  Upcoming plans include:

  • urban gardens on adjacent lots
  • an outdoor event venue/tented area for private events
  • 500+ birdhouses featuring a Melba's sales pitch to be hung on private property around NOLA (You may recall Melba's is the place that bought vacant houses across the city to use as advertising billboards before being fined by the city)
  • a small tomato farm on a vacant house lot called Melba's Creole Tomatoes
  • a chicken coop, to source eggs and "serve as a conversation piece for visitors"

Wolfe tells McNulty there's no plans to add more Melba's around town, but instead focus on the current location.  The restaurant is currently offering 1,000 pieces of fried chicken to anyone that can offer info/whereabouts on the two graffiti artists who tagged Melba's this week.

Melba's Old School Po Boys

1525 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117

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