Healthy fare, East New Orleans community propels the success of Salads Galore & More
Written by Frank Etheridge
The kitchen inside Salads Galore & More has nothing to hide. Literally.
Beaming like a proud parent boasting of their child’s accomplishments, owner Lisa Ducre explains that her concept of creating “the healthiest feast in East New Orleans” has been on full display for her customers since day one.
“I came up with the entire concept,” says Ducre, who opened the doors to her restaurant and catering business on July 15, 2009. “Everything we make is wholesome and fresh, and I wanted the customer to see that. We built out our space in a shopping center in a place that was a bookstore before Katrina, and we designed the kitchen with the idea of our customers watching their meal being prepared. “Every cucumber cut, every fresh-ground turkey patty. I wanted customers to see us making their patty. The whole place — the grill, the granite counter-tops, everything — was the exact concept I had in my mind when we opened.”
Overseeing a staff of five with a motto of “when in doubt, throw it out” to ensure freshness, Ducre explains her inspiration for establishing Salads Galore & More resulted from a dire lack of healthy-eating options in East New Orleans. “After Katrina, the only thing to eat in the East was at fast-food restaurants,” she says. Prior to the 2005 hurricane, Ducre spent years managing the food-and-beverage operations at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.
“At that time, there was no alternative to beef burgers and frozen seafood in the area. We wanted a healthier option for the area. I wrote the entire menu with that in mind: fresh-ground turkey burgers, salads with fresh toppings, grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, basting meats with different marinades we make in-house. And nothing is fried.”
The restaurant at Salads Galore & More is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with Ducre estimating that her business breaks down to 70-percent from the restaurant, 30-percent from catering orders.
The menu’s philosophy comes alive in popular choices such as the Anthony Davis: a stuffed baked sweet potato named after the soaring star of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, consisting of grilled salmon, grilled shrimp inside and toppings of shredded cheddar cheese, chives and sour cream.
“As the East has grown, my business has grown. I didn’t do any advertising, so all of this growth has been by virtue of word of mouth,” says Ducre. “Now, we have people from all over the region coming here to eat, making us their first stop as they head to a beauty salon or a doctor’s appointment. They’re coming from across the river, from Kenner to Slidell.”
Business has grown on the catering side as well, with orders coming from regulars in the East such as Friends of Joe Brown Park and East New Orleans Hospital along with devoted downtown customers at Civil District Court and Tulane Medical School.
“Seven years in and I am blessed,” Ducre says. “It’s not your typical menu, but the community support is strong and continues to grow.”
Salads Galore & More
7011 Read Blvd., New Orleans, La., 70127