Upcoming food hall St. Roch Market officially debuts today, April 10, in what is certain to be the biggest spring opening in New Orleans. Not only does the return of the market mark an important milestone for the community, but the business also solidifies St. Claude Avenue as the city's newest street of dreams when it comes to dining.
When the doors open, thirteen vendors will serve up everything from African food to oysters. This week, in anticipation of the opening, Eater NOLA talks to each of the lucky thirteen on what to expect at their counter, and what they're most excited about at the new St. Roch Market.
Up now, Micah Martello, the NOLA native and chef who not only heads up award-winning food truck King Creole, which he launched three years ago while living in North Carolina, but also counts fixing up food trucks as a passion. Now back in New Orleans, While Martello is planning on launching a couple new food truck concepts and a food cart 'down the road,' he also debuts his King Creole stall in St. Roch Market today, featuring shrimp and grits, a crawfish poutine, and more hometown flavor.
What all will you be offering at St. Roch Market?
Shrimp and grits, crawfish poutine, chicken sauce piquant, a pressed muffuletta—noboby in town in pressing their muffulettas and it changes the sandwich like you wouldn't believe. We're doing a crawfish ceviche with plantain. It's really good.
What dish are you most excited to offer and why?
You know the shrimp and grits is what we won the North Carolina Food Truck Championship with last year, so it's our signature item. But here in New Orleans, now that we're doing the crawfish poutine, that's probably my favorite dish. It's my Louisiana spin on the Canadian poutine. The classic is french fries with cheese curd and a roast beef gravy. We do red skin new potatoes, and we parboil them in liquid crab boil and salt, like you would boil crawfish. Then we deep fry them, and instead of a roast beef gravy we top them with pepper jack cheese and crawfish etouffee.
What does the St. Roch Market mean to you? Why did you apply for a vendor spot?
To me it's an honor and a privilege to be a part of something that's going to change this neighborhood forever. Plus, with the food truck...I don't want to do restaurants anymore. I've done 25 years in the restaurant business, from corporate chef, to hotels, mom and pops, you name it, and I've done it all. I love being a chef, but I got burned out on the restaurant business. This allows me to cook, hone my craft, give something to the customer and see them light up when they eat it. I'm eliminating the middle man. The whole food hall kind of thing is extremely appealing to me, and that's why we really wanted to do it. It's nice to be a part of it.
What other vendor are you most excited about?
I really like Koreole. The oyster company. I'm going to be spending a lot of time over there becasue I love raw oytsters. To have them at my disposal, twenty feet, is going to be kind of dangerous.