A promising new food hall with several vendors serving Vietnamese cuisine is taking shape at the intersection of Elysian Fields and St. Claude Avenues, the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reports. Elysian Market is expected to open with at least nine vendors sometime this spring.
A few things make this food hall notably different from others that have opened and closed in recent years in New Orleans. Each food stall has a significant buildout, according to the newspaper, with full kitchens including ovens, stoves, fryers, and cold storage. Next are the offerings, which include a typical mix of global flavors but will lean more heavily on Vietnamese, a welcome focus in a city that has long celebrated the cuisine.
There will be one stand for pho and vermicelli bowls and another for banh mi and Vietnamese desserts. There is a centrally located sushi and poke bowl bar lined with counter seats, a juice and salad bar, a stall for burgers and wings, and one for Mexican food. There is only one familiar vendor name so far: Zoe’s Bakery, a popular Covington bakery that specializes in custom cakes, king cakes during Carnival season, pastries like strawberry Napoleon, and holiday sweets like German stollen.
The owner of the building and new food hall, Ngo Vu, will also operate a stand called the Market, which will sell prepared foods to go, cheeses, sandwiches, boiled seafood, and some fresh produce. Vu runs two reception and event venues in the area, Crystal Palace in Harvey and New Orleans East, and previously ran Capt. Sal’s Seafood & Chicken, located a mile downriver from the new food hall on St. Claude Avenue (hence the boiled seafood). A full bar with counter seating, which is often a major money maker for food halls, will be run by a different vendor, according to the newspaper.
Elysian Market has been taking shape within the empty building at 1101 Elysian Fields Avenue for some time; it was a Beauty Plus store for two decades until that closed a few years ago. More recently, the exterior has been covered in colorful murals of people and plants and fresh coats of paint, sparking rumors about what was happening inside. Turns out, a lot has been happening: the larger-than-average vendor stands and bars are covered in faux marble paneling, each with video menu screens. Modern, metallic light fixtures hang from the warehouse ceiling, and the two center bar areas are topped with gold hanging plant boxes.
Elysian Market is located just blocks from New Orleans’s last remaining food hall, St. Roch Market. That food hall has undergone a major shift since summer 2023, when the owner of one of its original vendors, Kevin Pedeaux of CR Coffee Shop, took over the lease from its prior operator. It was on the brink of closure before Pedeaux stepped in, after a particularly slow summer and reaching an all-time low number of vendors. Since taking over, Pedeaux has restored the market to 11 vendors, a mix of original operators and newcomers. In 2022, all of the city’s other food halls closed: Auction House Market shut down in March, followed by Pythian Market in late 2022. Shortly after that, the food hall that replaced Auction House Market, the Hall on Mag, closed abruptly in December 2022 after just five months.
Elysian Market is awaiting inspections, according to the newspaper, and is tentatively projected to open sometime after Mardi Gras.