by Sarah Baird
The culinary resurgence along O.C. Haley Boulevard will continue in the coming months with the opening of Jack and Jake's Public Market, a "food hub" committed to providing under-served communities with fresh, affordable food.
The 30,000 square foot space — located inside the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School building (1307 O.C. Haley Blvd.) — will be home to "a unique food market and community center that builds upon New Orleans' historic tradition of public markets," according to Founder and CEO John W. Burns. (The project has been in the works for several years; in a 2012 Gambit story about the revival of O.C. Haley, Jack and Jake's was anticipated to open in 2013.)
"We've been moving food from local farms to schools since 2011, and now we're about to complete the other piece of the puzzle," said Burns. "The public market will allow people to have access to local, fresh foods at an affordable price."
Inside the market, there will be local fresh food available for both retail and wholesale, as well as prepared foods made with local ingredients. Ample indoor and outdoor seating is also planned, as well as edible gardens that will be used for both cultivating food and educational purposes in partnership with the New Orleans Food and Farm Network. A training kitchen on the second floor will work in conjunction with the edible garden and the neighborhood.
"We feel it's going to be the most beautiful market in town, but also a place that focuses on giving people access to the best local food possible," said Burns. "We just turned on all of our refrigeration yesterday, so we should be ready for a soft opening sometime in March."
For more information and to follow along with Jack and Jake's progress, visit their website.