Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 46 of 203

The Backstory Poulakakos and his business partners own several Financial District restaurants and taverns, as well as Pier A Harbor House, a food hall recently opened on a restored 19th century pier that has a Gilded Age, older New York feel. When they conceptualized Le District, they were determined to stay in the neighborhood. "We've always been committed to Lower Manhattan, and Le District's name partly comes from the Financial District," he says. It took 2½ years to take Le District from concept to opening day, which included signing on with Brookfield Place and bringing chef Jordi Valles on board as executive culinary director. A Revitalized Neighborhood Once mostly a ghost town on evenings and weekends, the Financial District is buzzing these days with new office towers and apartment buildings. It's no Times Square, but there's a real restaurant and night- life culture now, thanks to an influx of new residents, late-working professionals, and tourists flocking to the recently opened September 11 Memorial and Museum. Le District is in the right place to capitalize on the energy and trendiness of downtown New York. The marketplace has been steadily attracting a cross-section of local residents, professionals from the surrounding offices, and foreign tourists. Foodie enthusiasts and Francophiles from around the city are also f locking to this gastronomic emporium and making it one of New York 's most popular food destinations right now. The Grand Tour The space is divided into four distinct mini-districts, offering a total of 24,000 square feet of selling space with about 360 full- and part- time employees, including chefs, bakers, waiters, and counter staff, says Laurent Vasseur, director of operations. Le District hits all price points, from a $1.75 cafe au lait to foie gras that runs $79 per pound. Well-proportioned sandwiches and salads run under $10 each, and small shareable desserts, such as apple tartlets and coconut roche, go for $5 and under. The Cafe District. Closest to Le District's main entrance, the cafe quarter consists of a creperie, patisserie, a coffee and tea bar, and the first U.S. outpost of French sweets shop La Cure Gourmande, which offers packaged chocolates and has a cookie bar that sells them by the pound. The Market District. Separate culinary stations include a fro- magerie, charcuterie, rotisserie, poissonerie, and grab-and-go shelves (casse croute). Anchored in the center is an oval dining and drinking area with about 125 seats and a casual vibe, where visitors can order wine, cocktails, or a meal. The Garden District. This section has a wine shop, juice bar, and salad bar stocked with fresh produce. A grocery market carries import- ed and domestic packaged items and a daily selection of fresh dishes, such as beef bourguignonne and gratin dauphinois made on-site. The Restaurant District. Here, visitors can choose from Beaubourg, a traditional brasserie with indoor and outdoor seating, and the casual yet sleek Le Bar, serving imported French wine and mixed drinks. A 28-seat chef's table called L'Appart ("the apart- ment"), which is set to open in late summer, will feature a tasting menu with seasonal ingredients and a chef's counter where patrons can watch their meals be made. retailer profile Almost everything that can be imported from France will be on shelves, and that includes French-made condiments, sauces for pasta and couscous, salts, herbs, cheese, and specialty meats at the charcuterie. 44 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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