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Uptown Record Store Plans Revival of Historic Woolworth’s Counter For Pop-ups, Events

Peaches Records also considering a restaurant down the road

Peaches Records’ historic Woolworth’s counter
Peaches Records/Facebook

Peaches Records, a treasured, decades-long destination for New Orleans music lovers, hopes to use its historic F.W. Woolworth lunch counter to host pop-ups and events, and to potentially establish a daily restaurant in the future.

Uptown Messenger reports that the Magazine Street record store’s owners outlined their plans for the counter at a neighborhood meeting Monday, June 3. The meeting was part of the process in their quest for conditional use approval to operate as a restaurant and serve alcoholic beverages. Lee Rea, son of Peaches’ owner Shirani Rea, clarified that they would use the counter to host local chefs for pop-ups and fundraising events, but that any plans for a daily restaurant are three to five years down the road.

Peaches moved from the French Quarter to 4318 Magazine Street, a former F.W. Woolworth store and the original location of the counter, in 2016. A consultant working with the owners to ensure appropriate permitting said that the counter, built in 1940, was the site of the first sit-in inspired by the original 1960 Greensboro Woolworth counter sit-ins, making it the second in the counters’ history as an icon of the civil rights movements.

The last functional Woolworth’s counter in America is in Bakersfield, California; in Nashville, a former Woolworth department store was turned into a restaurant that opened last year. The Reas’ plans to use the counter to honor its history and “create a space to strengthen community bonds” would add New Orleans to this small list of significant sites nationwide.

Uptown Messenger reports that attendees, despite questions, seemed supportive of the idea. Check back with Eater for updates on plans for the counter.

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