Employees at the Maple Street Starbucks will be first in Louisiana to unionize

The polls closed for the Maple Street Starbucks union election at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (June 4), and 15 minutes later, the count was announced. The workers at the 7700 Maple Street location had voted overwhelmingly to unionize. With the final count 11-1 in favor of forming a union, this Starbucks will be the first in Louisiana to unionize. A total of 14?votes were cast, but two were contested.?

The Maple Street coffeehouse joins more than 100 Starbucks stores nationwide that have unionized in the past seven months, since a Buffalo, New York, store became the first in December 2021. The Maple Street Starbucks workers will be a part of the national union known as Workers United.?

Reporters, supporters and off-the-clock baristas waited for the results outside the polling place across the street from the coffeehouse, as the temperature soared over 90 degrees.

Workers at the Starbucks on Maple voting on whether to form a union

At the Maple Street Starbucks on Thursday morning (June 2), amid patrons with baby strollers and sleek laptops, union organizers and supporters held a “sip in” for the coffeehouse workers. Those workers are holding a union election this Friday and Saturday. If the vote passes, the store at 7700 Maple St. will be the first unionized Starbucks in Louisiana, part of a spate of newly unionized Starbucks across the country. At the sip-in, the organizers invited supporters to sit in the cafe and hold signs for the workers to boost morale in anticipation of the upcoming election.

Upperline owners put the restaurant up for sale

Corporate Realty announced last week that the beloved Upperline Restaurant is on the market. The owners — proprietor JoAnn Clevenger, her husband Alan Greenacre and their son Jason Clevenger — are selling the restaurant at Upperline and Pitt streets. The art-filled restaurant known for its creative interpretations of Creole and Cajun standards served its last meal in March 2020. The owners announced in November 2021 that the restaurant would not reopen from the pandemic shutdown. Clevenger, who is 83, told NOLA.com’s Ian McNulty in 2021: “We would sell Upperline with the name and the recipes, but I only want to sell to someone who is not going to damage what we built here; they could change it, but I have to trust they won’t damage it.”

The 4,293-square-foot property currently has a liquor license and is outfitted with fixtures, furniture and equipment, according to Corporate Realty.

Eye Wares clinic and optical shop to open at Magazine and State

Local optometrist Dr. Lauren Agnew purchased the 20-year-old Eye Wares clinic and optical boutique two weeks before Covid-19 shut down optometry practices across the nation in March 2020. Despite the rough start, she is opening her third practice Friday (June 3) in the newly constructed building at the site of the former Shell station at Magazine and State streets. After multiple delays due to Covid and Hurricane Ida, the official public grand opening is scheduled for Friday. The commercial building at 6001 Magazine is also home to a Starbucks, Club Pilates and the Audubon Facial Plastic Surgery. With Eye Wares, the building will be fully occupied.

Get Your Mom and Dim Sum pop-up brings Southern-influenced Chinese food to local breweries

A new dim sum pop-up is adding another option to the city’s Chinese food scene. Get Your Mom and Dim Sum can be found at your local brewery.?

Owner Andrew Lu was raised in Lafayette and grew up in the restaurant industry. His love of food and cooking began in the kitchen of his family’s Chinese restaurant. After attending the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, Lu moved to New Orleans and worked his way through some of the city’s top restaurants. “I started working with chef Nathan Richard at Kingfish and from there, the both of us moved on to Cavan,” Lu said.

Bisutoro on Magazine aims to “bring the Japanese menu back to simplicity”

Bisutoro on Magazine, a new sushi bistro, opened in March in the Lower Garden District. Bisutoro on Magazine’s focus is Japanese dishes that you won’t find anywhere else and a rotating specialty fish list that includes selections from around the world. Chefs and owners Ryan Smith and Dariel Medina serve?an array of nigiri, sashimi, hand rolls and other small plates. Smith, who grew up in Salt Lake City, received his culinary training in Japan and made sushi at Utah ski resorts before relocating to New Orleans 11 years ago. He said he wants to bring traditional Japanese sushi, in all its simplicity, to the city he loves.

Fans of Casa Borrega mourn its closing

Patrons who have been enjoying eclectic Mexican fare, a variety of live music and the occasional street parties at Casa Borrega?since 2012 will sadly miss it. “Oh no, I can’t believe it. I was just there last week,” said one regular, expressing the dismay of many when they learned the Central City restaurant served its last Chile Relleno and Margarita Borrega on Friday (May 6). It was located in the section of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard that has seen spurts of development since Hugo Montero and Linda Stone first came up with the concept more than a decade ago. Other restaurants followed – with varied success — and a couple of years later the Southern Food and Beverage Museum opened down the street.

Business Council lauds S&WB power substation deal (sponsored)

The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region applauds Mayor Cantrell, the New Orleans City Council, Entergy?and the Sewerage and Water Board for working together to advance one of the most critical infrastructure projects for New Orleans. The new S&WB power substation will greatly enhance the reliability of the City’s water-related infrastructure, including pumps and pump stations, and reduce the chances of boil water advisories and flooding resulting from bad weather events. This is a major milestone in creating the critical infrastructure necessary to ensure a prosperous future for New Orleans.

Zee’s Pizzeria getting ready to fire up its ovens in the Milan neighborhood

Zee’s Pizzeria, the pizza popup slinging pies at Zony Mash Beer Project, is making a move to a place of its own in the Milan area. Owner Zander White is currently working on a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Baronne Street about a block from Martin’s Wine Cellar. He plans to open in mid-June. Pizza making had been a tradition for White and his father. When the family moved to New Orleans from Maine in 1994, they began buying dough from bakeries and making the Northeast-style pizza they missed from back home.?

“In the ’90s and early 2000s, there wasn’t a lot of good pizza options in New Orleans,” said White, who worked in New Orleans pizza parlors as a teenager.