In business for more than 60 years, Martin Wine Cellar (3500 Magazine St., 899-7411; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300; 2895 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, 985-951-8081; 7597 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge, 225-926-4053; www.martinwine.com) has instant name recognition among a loyal following of locals and serious wine collectors in neighboring states. Known for its impeccable selection of wines, spirits, gourmet foods, cheeses, and catering, Martin's also is a tried-and-true destination for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious lunch in a casual, yet bustling atmosphere. If you're a local, you're bound to run into someone you know at Martin's.
Opened in 1946 by David Y. Martin, father of current owner Cedric Martin, the original location occupied half of a shotgun house on Baronne Street Uptown and was devoted almost entirely to liquor sales. But it was the much larger Baronne Street store, built in 1969, that became a recognizable landmark and the model for the Metairie store that was opened in 1989. In 1977, the Uptown store expanded to include a deli, and in the early '90s, Cedric Martin added a sophisticated menu of bistro foods.
"That store was a tremendous part of people's lives," says Dave Gladden, CEO of Martin Wine Cellar and its sister wholesale company, Wines Unlimited. "People would get up on Saturday morning, go to the hardware store or the green market and then eat lunch at Martin's. People sorely miss it."
Today, despite the closing of its Uptown store because of Hurricane Katrina, Martin's is a thriving company with four locations and plans to reopen a new and better store on Baronne St. "We're committed to this city, and we're anxious to get back up there," says Gladden.
Customers will find the same level of knowledge and expertise that they've come to know and expect at Martin's, whose sales staff travels the world -- Argentina, Napa, Sonoma, Italy, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Portugal, Madeira and South Africa -- to research and buy the best wines available. Martin's has a solid reputation dealing in wine futures (the practice of pre-selling wines still in the barrel at better prices) and regularly holds tastings and other events to educate consumers. The annual Once Upon a Vine event held next month enables participants to sample 150 wines from around the globe. For more information, visit www.martinwine.com.
- Cedric Martin among the wine racks at Martin Wine Cellar's Metairie location.