Clark & Whitney Gaines – People to Watch 2017


Clark and Whitney Gaines think Government Street is the next great foodie destination. Their concept, White Star Market, is set to open in late spring on the ground floor of the upcoming mixed-use development Square 46.

Bolstered by the success of food halls like St. Roch Market in New Orleans, they looked to recreate that atmosphere where budding chefs can establish themselves, share resources and offer diners a variety of options within one space.

Not surprisingly, the Gaineses booked vendors with lightning speed after announcing their plans last March, quickly filling the space’s 10 stalls with concepts including Jay Ducote’s Gov’t Taco, New Orleans chef Micah Martello’s Creole-style Fete au Fete, a satellite oyster bar for Jolie Pearl and Jesse Romero’s Cajun-centric Robear Lane.

The food hall will also feature a coffee shop, a Prohibition-style bar and an outdoor patio.

While this isn’t the first food hall for Baton Rouge—Main Street Market has been going strong for more than a decade—White Star Market will appeal to both daytime and nighttime crowds. The Gaineses, who have backgrounds in food and retail industries, also see White Star Market as a potential focal point for Mid City, which is already becoming a hotspot for local chefs.

“This spot was certainly a no-brainer for us,” Clark says. “It’s just a great part of town where things are changing.” whitestarmarket.com

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Be a successful food vendor

1. Practical business sense: “You have to understand what the market and what the customer is going to want and make sure you can generate enough revenue as a standalone business with all the food costs and labor costs,” Clark says.

2. Originality and simplicity: “Each person that’s in the market, I would say is the best at what they do. … You’ve got to keep the concept simple, not offering a huge array. It needs to be focused,” Whitney says.

3. Do your homework: From the ingredients to the menu design, Clark says to research what works and what fits your aesthetic. “Even by looking around online at what others are doing, you can save yourself a lot of headaches and money.”

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.