Fans of Beasts of the Southern Wild may remember star Dwight Henry from several of the bakeries he has operated in New Orleans. Currently, Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe is open at 1781 N. Dorgenois St. in Gentilly. It wasn't easy for him to open the first one in 2000. Banks turned him down for business loans, so he worked two jobs to raise the money. (More on that here.) Now, he's got several new projects in the works, including a French Quarter place, a West Bank bakery and a bakery and deli set to open in New York City in Spring. And he's got many other projects in the pipeline, including a cookbook.
"I had to stop taking calls from publishing companies who wanted to do my cookbook," he said this morning, just back from the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Henry's two new local projects will open with his Beasts' character Wink in the name. In the French Quarter, Wink's is expected to open in April on the 1200 block of Decatur Street. It's a bakery that will serve breakfast and a light lunch, with hot plate specials, jambalaya and stuffed bell peppers. He also expects to provide breads and pastries to French Quarter restaurants. Actor Wendell Pierce (Treme, The Wire) and Henry's agent are partners in the business.
On the West Bank, Henry will open Wink's Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe inside the Sterling Farms grocery store soon to open on Lapalco Boulevard. Sterling Farms is a new local grocery chain started by Pierce to serve neighborhoods without grocery stores, sometimes referred to as "food deserts."
Later this spring, Mr. Henry's Bakery and Deli will open in Harlem on Lenox Avenue at 125th Street. Henry's partner in the project is New York restaurateur Richard Notar, who was behind the opening of such high profile restaurants as Nobu. Notar also is opening a jazz club next to the restaurant. More on those projects here.
Henry also has some travel on his schedule. He expects to work on another film in Belgium in April, and he'll travel to a film festival in Panama with the crew from Beasts of the Southern Wild. But in the meantime, he'll cater the opening of the Contemporary Arts Center exhibit Beyond Beasts:The Art of Court 13, featuring art and unseen footage from Beasts of the Southern Wild and earlier projects from Court 13. There's an ArtSpeak 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, with Beasts cast members, and the expo opening reception (6 p.m.-8 p.m.) is followed by the Court 13 Homecoming Dance (8 p.m.-10 p.m.) Friday, March 8.