Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 24 to correct information regarding BLDG 5. The restaurant’s executive chef is Kevin Anderson.
What makes the local restaurants you love so loveable? Often, it’s a signature ingredient or menu item that leaves you wondering how you could achieve that kind of flavor at home. But wait! Maybe you can—at least in part. More restaurants are casually retailing their wares, and you’ve probably seen some of these items at checkout when you were picking up takeout during the stay-at-home order. It makes it possible to create that same familiar magic in your kitchen by picking up some of your favorite spot’s handiwork.
BLDG 5 Various prepared foods
A key component of BLDG 5’s hip and healthy concept is its inspiring marketplace, which welcomes diners on the way to one of Baton Rouge’s newest, trendiest restaurants. Peruse the coolers to find a multitude of prepared foods and DIY starters, including ground turkey for lettuce wraps, Asian soups and family meals that change regularly. BLDG 5’s marketplace, like its menu, is curated by owners Misti and Brumby Broussard and Executive Chef Kevin Anderson, who love to see lots of different flavors on the plate.
You won’t see it in glass jars on the shelf, but Anthony’s Italian Deli’s olive salad is routinely sold by the pound to loyal patrons who can’t get enough of its jaw-jarring deliciousness in the restaurant. Made with a family recipe that dates back to Anthony’s opening in 1978, the piquant mixture of black and green olives and pickled peppers and vegetables is different than most, thanks to its finely chopped texture. That chop creates a smooth delivery that pairs perfectly with Anthony’s tradition of pressing muffolettas until gooey and warm.
There are lots of Louisiana-made red sauces out there, but Monjunis Italian Café and Grocery was one of the first to retail its red sauce to fans who couldn’t get enough of its characteristic sweetness. A key element in many of its retro Italian-American dishes, the sauce packs a bold wallop, leaving diners wanting more.
As Baton Rouge’s first committed vegetarian restaurant, MJ’s led the way for showing how deep flavors could be achieved through plant-based ingredients. Soups have always been a favorite platform for demonstrating this culinary lesson, both for original founder Maureen Joyce, and current owner Mary-Brennan Faucheux. Vegan and gluten-free, MJ’s changing soups are available in quart-sized containers at the new location on Government Street and sometimes at the Red Stick Farmers Market.
Peanuts and panko bread crumbs form the basis of this textural element, which helped Jordan Ramirez and Vu “Phat” Le win accolades for their sticky pork ribs in a local barbecue contest. That honor kicked off the opening of their Chow Yum Phat ramen bar in the former White Star Market, and it’s now found in a full-service location under the Perkins Road overpass. The Crack Crunch provides an umami-rich finishing touch found atop CYP’s pho dumplings, hot honey chicken bao, miso fresh salad and other items. It’s thankfully available for retail, as are house-made pickles and Ronin’s Revenge Hot Chili Paste.