New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket brings a century of tradition to the present. (Part 1 of this story here.)
New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket on Veterans is open in #themetrys
When the New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket opened last week, I was relieved. I don’t plan meals out all that much. My schedule is such that, if I’m not traveling, I can make multiple trips to the grocery in a week. Four days (Saturday-Tuesday) of no Zuppardo’s was a strange experience. I realized how much I rely on my local grocery.
Walking into the new Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket was a real treat. Now, let’s be fair from the start. From an industry perspective, the new store isn’t all that innovative. Other stores, such as the Rouse chain and Whole Foods, have the same features and layouts as this new store. There are two big differences that make this store exciting.
New Orleans tradition, expanded
The Rouses are from Thibodaux. Whole Foods Market is from, well, they’re everywhere, therefore they’re from nowhere. The Zuppardo family have been in New Orleans since the 1890s. Their Gentilly store, Economical Super Market, opened on Elysian Fields and Gentilly in 1937. The Zuppardo produce truck sat at that corner for seven years before that. That’s almost a century of New Orleans. Generations of New Orleanians made groceries with the Zuppardo’s and continue to do so.
So, don’t get me wrong, there are things I like about Whole Foods Market. Taht includes both pre- and post-Amazon. Still, there are the little things, like Pop-Tarts, they just don’t have. Or Zea’s Thai Rib Sauce. You get the idea.
Folks in other cities wrestle with the dilemma of generic chain versus local grocery. The large footprint of a store like WFM offers the shopper a number of options. How does a local store compete with that? Sell items your momma and her momma bought, like house-made Italian sausage. Roast beef at the deli counter with garlic in it like my mom made. Creole-Italian dishes based on Sicilian family recipes passed on from generation to generation.
The doubling of the size of the Veterans store takes this local distinction and drives it home. The New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket has a big salad bar. They have a “hot bar” with fried chicken and other cooked local dishes. The snack bar isn’t just a counter up front, but a po-boy shop in itself. Zuppardo’s isn’t cooking food that’s tested in generic corporate kitchens. They cook for you like you’re family. Mind you, that doesn’t mean WFM is bad. It means Zuppardo’s is New Orleans.
The increase in the size of the New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket improves the presentation of all the products the store offers. So, there are more items in the bakery to tease you. The expanded deli counter means less of a wait when you want a half pound of this and a quarter pound of that.
The meat department of the new store no longer has the cowbell. Typical of many smaller groceries/supermarkets, the original Metairie store didn’t have a butcher counter. So, if you wanted meat that wasn’t out in the cooler cases, you went to the door of the meat department’s back area and rang a cowbell hanging from the ceiling. A butcher would come out and help you. Now, the new store has a meat/seafood counter where you can walk up and ask for something. While it’s a little thing, if you’ve ever been to a WFM, you know that people really do like to pick out meat that’s not wrapped in plastic.
I’m excited for this new phase in the Zuppardo family tradition.