August 9, 2013

La Petite Grocery and Chef Justin Devillier

La Petite Grocery and Chef Justin Devillier

***Update 08/29/2013 – Chef Justin on Top Chef!!!***

We had no idea at the time, but Chef Justin Devillier has been tapped to be on Bravo’s Top Chef: New Orleans this Fall, which debuts on October 2. Padma Lakshmi, hostess of Bravo’s Top Chef, launched 6 “webisodes” called Padma’s Picks the week after we produced our first-ever on-location show in Chef Justin’s restaurant, La Petite Grocery. Wow!

You can find the Padma’s Picks webisodes HERE.

La Petite Grocery & the Around The Table Food Show

Last Friday was a first for the Around The Table Food Show.

Since we launched the show on April 12, 2013, all of the weekly shows have been produced in the studio at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Until last week, that is.

Last week we produced the first on-location show from La Petite Grocery on Magazine Street. This is significant.

Around The Table Food Show was conceived as a local Catholic radio show in New Orleans to bring together food and faith. It’s a show for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or not… a foodie or not… living in New Orleans or not. It doesn’t matter. This show is for everybody because we are encouraging everybody to start getting back around the table again with family and friends… even on a daily basis. At the same time, it would make sense that this show appeal to the locals in New Orleans and throughout south Louisiana because food is so much a part of our daily lives. We really like to eat down here. And cook. And talk about food.

So far this year we have:

We knew it was just a matter of time before we actually produced a show from a restaurant.

Monsignor Christopher Nalty made this first on-location show possible. As a frequent guest at La Petite Grocery, Msgr. Nalty knows Chef Justin Devillier well. Not only is the restaurant located just a block from Msgr. Nalty’s parish (in the historic Church of St. Stephen on Napoleon Ave.), but Chef Justin and his wife Mia are parishioners of the parish. As a matter of fact, Msgr. Nalty baptized their daughter. So it was the perfect place to make our on-location debut.

Listen below to our conversation with Chef Justin Devillier, Executive Chef & Proprietor of La Petite Grocery.

You can also download the MP3 file of the show to listen at your leisure on your computer or portable MP3 player. Click here to download.

On-location at La Petite Grocery with Chef Justin Devillier

Chef Justin Devillier: Executive Chef & Proprietor

“Justin Devillier was raised in Dana Point California, a small beach town in south Orange County. Growing up, Justin enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of living on the beach. Summers were spent fishing for Yellowtail and Albacore tuna, and in the fall and winter he would free-dive for Lobsters just steps from the front door. This bounty of local seafood inspired Justin’s will to cook professionally and after cooking for a few years right out of high school, he decided it was time to focus on becoming a chef.

“In 2003 he moved to New Orleans and worked in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella, and Peristyle. While working at Peristyle, Justin worked with Chef Anne Kearny-Sands and learned the ins and outs of French cuisine and was responsible for preparing daily charcuterie specials.

“In June 2004, Devillier joined the restaurant staff at La Petite Grocery. He became sous chef in October 2005. After Hurricane Katrina, Justin helped re-establish La Petite Grocery, managing daily specials and training new line cooks. In February 2007, he became the Executive Chef. Justin was named a 2008 Chef to Watch by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine in August 2008, as well as a Chef to Watch by The Times-Picayune in 2008. In 2009, he was named one of New Orleans CityBusiness’ Culinary Connoisseurs for Best Executive Chef and Best Neighborhood Restaurant. Devillier “cooks in a manner so appropriate to New Orleans spirit: French bistro with a Southern twist.” Also, according to Zagat, Chef Justin Devillier makes “clever use of local ingredients in his expertly crafted Contemporary Louisiana-French dinners.”

“Chef Devillier was nominated in 2012 as a finalist by The James Beard Foundation for Best Chef – South award.

“Justin works hard to support local farmers and fisherman and really enjoys grass fed beef, Berkshire hogs and really hoppy Ales. He credits his hard working staff for any accolades the restaurant might receive. When Justin gets free time, you can still find him fishing and hanging out on the beach. – from the website of La Petite Grocery

Why Is the Restaurant Called La Petite Grocery?

“The name La Petite Grocery pays homage to the history of the building that houses our restaurant:

“In the late 1800s, John B. Willig built a Creole-style cottage on the corner of Magazine and Berlin (renamed General Pershing after World War I) Streets in the Jefferson City area of New Orleans. He leased the store to a young entrepreneur named Frank W. Mackie and together they opened the Central Tea, Coffee and Butter Depot.

“The small store was located across the street from the Jefferson Market, a very busy center of trade due to its proximity to the bustling port of New Orleans. Mr. Mackie would sell items such as butter, fresh from the creamery; coffee, which was roasted in the store; teas, imported from around the world; as well as local goods like pecans, rice and field beans. Customers would come by foot, horse and buggy or take a ferry from across the river to purchase the delectable and unique groceries they stocked in their store.

“The store was enjoying success in a rapidly growing neighborhood. Then, on a May night in 1908, a fire that spread roughly two square miles devastated the area and burned the store to the ground. In an act of honorable resilience, Mr. Willig, along with his daughter Josephine, agreed to rebuild at the same address. The architect Joseph M. De Fraites was in charge of design and construction, while Frank W. Mackie would oversee the whole project.

“The end result was a building like no other in the neighborhood at the time: it had a full service grocery store in front and a barn in back to house delivery carriages, a few horses, stable hands and delivery boys. Once again Mr. Mackie would be in charge of operating the store, reflected in its new name: “Frank W. Mackie Grocer.” In advertisements, Mackie boasted of “fancy groceries.” Tea, coffee and butter remained the store’s specialty.

“The store operated successfully for 35 years during which Mr. Mackie acquired ownership from the Willigs. Before Frank Mackie passed away in 1942, the store was handed down to his youngest son, Richard H. Mackie. Richard, an accomplished jazz musician, operated the store with his mother, Mrs. Winnifred Fahey Mackie, until November of that year before selling the building and grocery store to Frank A. Von der Haar. The Von der Haars operated their grocery, Von der Haar’s Fine Foods, for nearly four decades. In was a staple in the uptown neighborhood, known for its high quality butcher shop and city-wide delivery, until it closed in 1982.

“Not long after Von der Haar’s closed its doors, Irwin’s Flowers moved in and provided the area with some of the most artfully presented fresh floral arrangements in the New Orleans area. Mr. Irwin’s flower shop closed just after the turn of the millennium.

“In March of 2004, La Petite Grocery opened its doors in the same building that John Willig and Frank Mackie built almost 100 years earlier with similar aspirations: to provide the neighborhood with exotic teas, locally roasted coffee and fresh produce. By doing this we hope to provide a dining experience that evokes nostalgia of old New Orleans.” – from the website of La Petite Grocery

Grilled Pickled Chinese Long Beans

About Around The Table Food Show

Around The Table Food Show debuted on Friday, April 12, 2013 in New Orleans and Baton Rouge on Catholic Community Radio (690 AM in NOLA and 1380AM in BR). It is also available for listening online.

Like The Catholic Foodie podcast, Around The Table Food Show is a radio show that talks about food and faith. Around The Table celebrates the joy of cooking and dining, and it encourages folks to get into the kitchen and to gather around the table with family and friends… Because good things happen around the table.

Around The Table Food Show highlights the local culture and cuisine of south Louisiana. The show is hosted by Dave Dawson and myself. Dave Dawson is the president of Catholic Community Radio, which has stations in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Catholic Community Radio Listening Area

The show airs on Fridays at 3:10 PM Central (just after the Divine Mercy Chaplet) in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The listening area spans from the Mississippi/Alabama border all the way to the west of Baton Rouge on the way to Lafayette.

Each broadcast is recorded, archived, and released as a podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. The first two broadcasts are embedded below. You can listen to them in your browser or download them as MP3 files. In just a few days, I will also launch a website for the show at

We are looking for sponsors for the show. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the incredible reach that these two radio stations have (talk about advertising exposure!), please do contact me at 985-635-4974 or email me at jeff [at]

Join me in the Holy Land in February 2014!


Register between now and October 1st and receive $50.00 off, plus get a free copy of Jeff’s collection of Middle Eastern recipes!

Contact Information

Susan Prendergrast
(800) 842-4842

Join us as we PRAY and BREAK BREAD together in Israel

Experience food preparation and cooking demonstrations led by “Catholic Foodie” Jeff Young and the “Chefs For Peace.”


Price of $3,795.00 includes airfare from Atlanta, Philadelphia, or Newark.

3 nights in Nazareth and 5 nights in Jerusalem

Highlights include:

  • Celebrating Mass at Mount Carmel, the Church of the Nativity, the Mount of the Beatitudes, the Basilica of Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Renewing Marriage Vows in Cana and Baptismal Vows at the River Jordan
  • Visiting the Churches of the Annunciation, Visitation, and Assumption
  • Sailing on the Sea of Galilee and Swimming in the Dead Sea
  • Touring a Franciscan Winery in Bethlehem and a Brewery in Taybeh
  • Praying the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, and visiting the “Wailing Wall,” the “Upper Room,” the Palace of Caiaphas, the Pools of Bethesda, the Mount of Olives , and Dormition Abbey
  • And finally a Farewell Supper at Emmaus

Details and registration form are at /holyland