With the shutdown of dining rooms across the state, the wholesalers that supply New Orleans restaurants with meat, produce, and seafood are losing significant business. Just as many local produce suppliers and farms quickly pivoted to direct-to-consumer sales, some of the area’s top meat and seafood sources have opened up their offerings to the public for at-home cooking.
JV Foods, which co-owner Tim Bordes says previously delivered to 400 restaurants in the South, is now selling a huge menu of Louisiana wagyu, five cuts of steak, more than 20 seafood items, and poultry direct to consumers (as well as some produce). While the company slowly started home deliveries in late March by word of mouth, it has since implemented an ordering system for curbside pickup or deliveries for orders over $150.
A typical customer of Bordes and JV Foods co-owner Robby Hares is French Quarter seafood destination GW Fins, currently closed after continuing to operate for a short time after restrictions were put into place. The restaurant’s head chef Michael Nelson visited the warehouse on Friday to help Hares and Bordes promote their shift, posting a video featuring footage of product and the pair’s excitement about “getting the highest quality ingredients” directly to consumers.
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At GW Fins, part of our mission is to serve sustainable seafood. We do that by forging relationships with local farmers and fishermen. During these tough times, our local, boutique suppliers and distributors are struggling big time. With so many restaurants closed, they don't have anyone to sell to. As a consumer, you have the perfect opportunity right now to support local farmers, fishermen, and food distributors while buying restaurant-quality ingredients that you can enjoy at home! Executive Chef Michael Nelson visited our good friends at JV Foods today to pick up ingredients for him and his family and gathered information while he was there to help you enjoy delicious foods while supporting local business. Check it out here!
Customers can message JV Foods through Facebook or text (504) 416-7228 or (504) 343-0316 to place orders, with pickup available at their warehouse in Kenner, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
A typical supplier for restaurants, grocery and corner stores, and other wholesalers, Piazza Seafood shifted operations in recent weeks, experimenting with selling to locals on top of donating product to Chef’s Brigade, a program that raises funds to pay local restaurants to prepare free meals for health care workers and first responders.
While Piazza previously sold a few items to out-of-town people looking for specialty seafood, the company’s just-relaunched website is now set up for customers to order various fish fillets, shellfish, a slew of crabmeat and crab claw options, and even alligator meat for home. There’s no delivery option available for now, but contactless pickup takes place at Piazza’s loading dock in Harahan Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Major Louisiana meat supplier Natco jumped quickly to consumer sales, making product available at its warehouse and via pop-up “meat truck” locations in Metairie and New Orleans. The company, which has been selling to New Orleans restaurants for 95 years, has since completely rebuilt its website, where customers can now order beef, chicken, and seafood for next day pickup Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See here for a running list of produce pickups, deliveries, and restaurants turned-grocers, and check back with Eater for updates on where to get meat and seafood directly from wholesale suppliers.