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For more than 80 years, Langenstein's (1330 Arabella St., 899-9283; 800 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-6682; www.langensteins.com) has been associated with convenience, quality products and fine foods. Opened in 1922 by Michael Langenstein, great-great-grandfather to current owners and brothers H.D. and Mike Lanaux, the original Langenstein's grocery was located at the corner of Prytania and Arabella streets. It later moved to the opposite end of the block and has been a reliable shopping resource for generations of New Orleanians. Since it opened in 1994, Langenstein's Metairie store has become a local tradition as well.

'We're one of the oldest grocery stores in town," says H.D. 'My son is in the business now; he's the fifth generation of the family to be in it."

At Langenstein's, customers know the butchers, managers and cashiers by name. (Butcher Buddy Hodgkins has been with the Uptown store for more than 70 years). They also are well acquainted with the store's offerings, which include top-notch meats and seafood, a deli department, imported cheeses, local specialties, fresh produce and a lengthy menu of more than 75 prepared foods, most of which are made with recipes handed down from H.D.'s grandmother. Local favorites like red beans, seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffee, stuffed eggplant, baby back ribs, rotisserie chicken and a variety of side dishes, dips and other items are some of the fresh and frozen dishes that enable locals to have a tasty home-made-style meal in a matter of minutes.

'All of the key items " seafood, meat, gourmet foods " are staples in both stores," H.D. says of the markets, which both have onsite kitchens. However, there are some differences between the stores. After more than eight decades, the Uptown store remains a small, neighborhood grocery, while the Metairie store, with nearly twice the space, has a larger selection of prepared foods (like soft-shell crab and pecan-crusted catfish), wines and spirits.

Langenstein's does a huge catering business especially during the holidays. Whether ordering in person, by phone or online, customers return year after year for baked or smoked turkeys, a choice of cornbread and crawfish, oyster, giblet and other dressings, casseroles, rib roasts, lamb crown roasts, custom gift baskets and more. This holiday season, Langenstein's also hopes to bring back its Turduchen " deboned turkey stuffed with boneless duck and chicken breasts.

'Everything is all ready to go," says H.D. 'You can literally put it right on the table."

click to enlarge Indoor Caption:  The Lanaux family  (l-r) Hilaire, Mike, Trey and H.D.  keeps Langenstein's at the forefront of the local gourmet grocery niche.
  • Indoor Caption: The Lanaux family (l-r) Hilaire, Mike, Trey and H.D. keeps Langenstein's at the forefront of the local gourmet grocery niche.
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