After two years of planning, the Ruby Slipper will close its 139 Cortez Street building when it opens its new Mid-City location, at 315 South Broad Avenue, in mid-December.
Ruby Slipper owners Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt purchased the property, then a vacant carpenters union hall, in December of 2015. Construction for the new cafe started in April of 2017.
The 60-year-old building stands two stories tall. Before the Ruby Slipper overhaul, the hall held offices on its ground level and had an open-floor assembly on its second floor.
Co-owner Erich Weishaupt, who has a passion for restoring old buildings, said he chose this new location not only for more space, but to help further the growth of this section of Mid-City.
“Being a little ahead of the curve, we felt like we’ve always pushed the envelope on revitalization of neighborhoods,” Weishaupt said, citing the development that followed the opening of the Ruby Slipper’s 1005 Canal Street location.
“It’s the right size building that is able to give us our offices, commissary, restaurant, and plenty of parking. Having parking alone, if just that, is incredible,” he added.
The ground level
The new location, which will open around December 15, maintains its brick facade, which faces South Broad Avenue. However, its main dining entrance and parking lot will face Banks Street.
Weishaupt said the Ruby Slipper based its South Broad Avenue signage on the design of the old carpenters union sign that once hung on the same spot.
On the Banks Street side, there will be parking for 27 cars and several bike racks. There will also be an open grass area with a playground, a patio with seating for 20, and an order window.
The new building will have over 10,000 square feet of space, with over 3,500 square feet allotted to the restaurant—which is more than twice the size of the 1,500-square-foot Cortez Street location. The ground-level restaurant will accommodate 120 guests, “which is double the seating capacity of the Cortez location,” Weishaupt said.
Its new ground-level kitchen alone will be over 1,700 square feet, which is 200 square feet larger than the entire Cortez location.
The restaurant will have a bar table, similar to its Uptown and Baton Rouge counterparts. Other highlights include whisk-inspired light fixtures, gorgeous double-sided stained glass, wide chalkboard installations, concrete flooring, large windows, wood ceilings, and flexible seating.
Weishaupt turned the original open-floor assembly into a full-scale office, complete with several cubicles, a conference room, break room, and training desks. The second floor will also hold the Ruby Slipper’s commissary, where it will produce the in-house products that it distributes to all other Ruby Slipper locations.
Before this new building, Ruby Slipper based its corporate office at its 2001 Burgundy Street location, which Weishaupt called modest.
“Everybody is working around a conference table now,” Weishaupt said. “There’s about five or six [employees] that have to sit at the conference table, using it as their desk, because we don’t have any room. So having all this space, and having a real office, is just, for us, unbelievable.”
The Burgundy corporate office spans 1,200 square feet. Its South Broad Avenue location will quadruple its office size, with 4,300 square feet of space.
Studio BKA Architects designed the new cafe, and Woodward Design+Build oversaw construction.