Rick and Lauren
The French Market has been a life long dream of owners Rick and Lauren (Noah) Weaver. Rick, a native of New Orleans, a lover of food, and one in a long line of New Orleans Chefs, always dreamed of opening a cafe/restaurant in line with authentic New Orleans cuisine. Lauren, a native to Atlanta, with a constant thirst to renovate, design, and bake, dreamed of a shop more in tune with home and garden design and grand events. Her goal with the Gardner Hardware store was to create a space that was not only comfortable, but rustic, industrial, elegant and divine all in one compass.
It took us 6 months to renovate this beautiful building. Five thousand square feet of century old heart of pine was salvaged and repurposed, all of our tables were built using the old floor joists as were many display tables and shelving in the Market. The pine flooring has now found a new home on our Retail and Hostess register as well as the walls down many of our hallways. Gardner Hardware Store (now proudly the French Market and Tavern) was built in 1902 and has been many things to many people over the last century. We hear amazing stories daily about how folks purchased sweaters and overalls, their first bicycle, high heeled shoes, had their lawn mower blades sharpened and even their meat cut all right here from Gardner Hardware store. In the following photos, you can see the ladder in the background. This is the original rolling "library" ladder that proudly hangs in the French Market dining room today.
Exterior - Main Street - Early 1900s
The exterior gets a facelift! March 2011
The Start of our Dining Room
Bar and retail areas…. the stairs in the far left were in great shape. We didn’t even paint them…
Exterior - Main Street - 2010
The Kitchen takes form
You can see the original brick street from the 1800’s that had not seen the light of day until 2011. (See the brick to the right of Lauren’s Leg). Originally main street in Locust Grove went THROUGH the French Market. The road was then shifted to the right to run through what is now the Mayors Park.
Almost there! Early April 2011
After the full renovation.
Main Dining room 2016
Interior photo of the Courtyard Event Space
The French Market bar and dessert counter
Our newest addition… The Event Room known as the “Courtyard Event Space”. This building was Constructed in 2013 and made from 19th century brick from a linen mill in Athens. The Iron fence was custom made for the French Market with the scrolled initials inscribed “FM” on the gates. The gas lanterns were especially designed for them as well and brought in from New Orleans. The Gardens are maintained by Lauren Herself. “The Garden” area is a wonderful place to dine as its right in the middle of the everyday bustle yet hidden as a secret garden. This space is open to the public and dogs are welcome!
The French Market Retail
The Nantucket… Another new addition with a covered roof and heaters. Open to the public or can be reserved for a private event or an intimate dinner for family and friends
French Market - 1890s
The original French Market in New Orleans combines great food with eventful shopping. When Rick and Lauren combined their two passions, distinctive and flavorful food, as well as casual & unique shopping ... the French Market & Tavern, with a Georgia twist, was born.