Dig Baton Rouge

Mid-City grub: White Star Market owner hopes to revitalize Government Street

Next year, Baton Rouge residents will have a new place to go to experience a strip of diverse cuisine—White Star Market.

Set to open in the early 2017, White Star Market will be housed on the ground floor of Square46, which is a recently built, mixed-use development located in Mid-City off of Government Street.

The owner, Clark Gaines, said the idea was not something completely foreign to him.

“My wife and I wanted to bring to Baton Rouge something that we had seen while living and traveling in other parts of the country,” he said. “I’ve owned a restaurant before and have a passion for the industry. This was a way we could still be involved in that industry.”

According to Gaines, the location only seemed right for what he had planned.

“We chose Square 46 because we both strongly believe Government Street and Mid City have a ton of potential to be transformed into a cultural hub for Baton Rouge. The developer of Square46, Josh Hoffpauir, also shared our vision,” Gaines said.

Consisting of 11 different concepts, White Star Market expects to be a “contemporary, urban, gourmet food hall.”

Within the 6,000 square feet development will be a wide range of food and drinks that caters to almost any audience.

All 11 spots have been rented out already, but only a few of the names behind the shops have been announced so far. Among the ones released include chefs Jay Ducote and Michael Mangham, in addition to Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar owner Eric Carnegie.

Jay Ducote, a local celebrity chef, was one of the first to make plans within White Star Market. His idea, Gov’t Taco, will be a contemporary taco bar without the traditional Mexican flavors.

“I’ve had this idea floating around since November when Clark Gaines told me about his vision for White Star Market,” Ducote said. “I thought tacos would be a perfect fit for this kind of concept, and they provide me with a perfect delivery method of flavors to taste buds.”

Although he is still developing and working on the menu, Ducote did say that Gov’t Taco will have its own smoker for brisket, along with the making of their own tortillas.

Another famous Baton Rouge chef, Michael Mangham, also agreed to open shop within the market. Years ago, Mangham was famous for his farm-to-table restaurant, the Silver Spoon, which he sold in 2008.

He plans to continue much of that same legacy in his new restaurant, Another Silver Spoon, which will feature mostly salads and sandwiches.

“I knew there would always be an opportunity to reopen the Silver Spoon. I was just waiting for the right moment and the White Star Market was it,” Mangham said.

Eric Carnegie is another notable name who joined forces with White Star Market. Currently the owner of downtown’s Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, Carnegie wants to open up another location

“Our goal of is to try and expand our brand, to eventually have multiple locations. We really want to branch out, and I think White Star [Market] will be great with that,” he said.

As the name suggests, Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar centers around oysters and the different styles in which to cook them. They even have their own, private area in Grand Isle in which they catch the oysters from.

With all of the talent that has already been attracted, it seems obvious that Gaines is hopeful about the future of White Star Market.

“[The] Baton Rouge food scene is trending in the right direction,” Gaines said. “I hope White Star helps give these business owners more opportunities to expand their individual restaurant brands and grow their companies. Ten years from now, it would be great if when we looked back at who is shaping the food scene in Baton Rouge, and some of those folks could be traced back to White Star Market.”

Photo courtesy of Clark Gaines

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