A food tour of Main Street Market, Baton Rouge’s original food hall

White Star Market’s fleeting foray in Mid City was all too brief, but Baton Rouge still has another urban food mall where you can grab a great meal. The Main Street Market became the city’s first food hall when it opened in 2002 at Fifth and Main streets downtown.

Today, the permanent marketplace includes five counter service eateries that offer a variety of lunchtime fare, including acai bowls, salads, wraps, Chinese combos, soul food and other fare. On Saturdays, as the Red Stick Farmers Market takes place outside, menus turn to breakfast and brunch.

Nearly two decades ago, the Main Street Market was part of a first wave of projects triggered by Plan Baton Rouge, the community’s full-throated effort to begin revitalizing then-sleepy downtown.

The market also hosts second locations for retailer Red Stick Spice Company and health food store Our Daily Bread, which sells grab-and-go sandwiches, baked goods and smoothies.

On Saturdays, additional vendors set up inside. Cutrer’s Meat Market, Crazy Cajun Confections and other producers give patrons even more items to experience. Cheery tables on the north and south ends of the market provide ample seating.

Here’s a peek at the noshes you’ll find. Hover over to read more about each restaurant.

1. Belly-warming goodness is what SYI’s meat-and-two daily special is all about. Dive into turkey wings, fried or roast chicken, meatloaf and classic Southern sides, plus old-fashioned layer cakes. On Saturday, the hot line serves breakfast.

2. Our Daily Bread’s avocado or turkey sandwiches served on homemade bread have been a mainstay of healthy eating in Baton Rouge for decades. Pair with a cup of scratch-made tomato soup.

3. On weekdays, Chef Celeste Bistro serves flatbreads, salads and burgers, and on Saturdays, it’s all about eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits and other tempting brunch items.

4. By carton or wrap, FRESHJUNKIE’s nutrient-dense salads are studded with everything from beets to strawberries to edamame. Order from the menu, or design your own.

5. Sink your teeth into the savory goodness of Paul Wong’s daily combos, which include stir-fried meats and veggies bathed in sweet-tangy sauces and served with a requisite eggroll.

6. The market’s newest vendor, Southern Cofe, prepares fresh acai bowls and smoothies, light fare and high-quality coffee drinks.

breada.org/markets/main-street-market; Find the vendors on Facebook

This article was originally published in the May 2021 issue of 225 magazine.