Nacheaux owners Anthony and Stephanie Brown were in the car, headed to Sunriver, when they got a phone call. The two, who run their Southern-meets-Latin-American cart-turned-food-hall-stall within the Alameda Hop on Fremont, had a rare moment to pause while building out their incoming speakeasy, Bourbon Street; they decided to take their first family vacation that year. But an hour into their drive east, the couple’s landlord called: The other tenants in their building, Blind Ox and Mix N Match Creamery, were leaving in a matter of weeks, and their landlord wanted to offer them the entire 4,000 square-foot space. “We decided to take it over, but we hopped into logistics mode while we were out there,” Anthony Brown says. “It was so abrupt... now we’re in a full sprint.”
When they got back from their trip, the Browns started to rethink their plans for the speakeasy. Instead of keeping a bar and restaurant in a back room, the couple had access to a lengthy bar in the main space. So, they decided to come up with three separate businesses within the space: Bourbon Street would take over the Alameda Hop’s bar, focusing on exclusively on cocktails and drinks opposed to Cajun-Creole cooking. The ice cream counter toward the front of the space would become Karnival Korner, a dessert shop with bake-to-order cookies, ice cream, and seasonal treats like apple cider doughnuts. And Nacheaux would continue to sell its off-the-walls fried chicken burritos and crawfish mac and cheese, using the back room as a private event space and pop-up venue. The idea, from their perspective, is to create a space that can play a number of different roles for the neighborhood, from comedy club to cocktail bar to family friendly dessert stop.
When customers walk into the space in October, the first thing they’ll see will be the dessert counter, Karnival Korner. Anthony Brown has always had a serious sweet tooth, selling elaborate desserts and sweet brunch items at his cart before he landed on Fremont. The new dessert counter will sell a number of the cart’s greatest hits in the sugar department. Ice cream will come in flavors like Cap’n Crunch peach cobbler, churro, and Oreo mint; the shop’s many beignets will also find a home at Karnival Korner, including churro, lemon curd, and pear cobbler beignets. The shop’s cookies will also stray beyond the typical chocolate chip; Nacheaux has sold cookies that range from lemon watermelon to red velvet unicorn chip Oreo. The Browns would have a hard time committing to a single menu, so of course Karnival Korner will often offer seasonal treats: Slushies and milkshakes in the spring and summer; hot chocolate and apple cider doughnuts in the fall and winter. Plus, Karnival Korner will become the new home of Nacheaux’s noteworthy iced teas and lemonades, plus coffee for morning brunches.
For something stronger, Bourbon Street will be shaking and stirring iconic New Orleans cocktails, from hurricanes to Vieux Carrés. The couple will fill a portion of the bar’s many taps with pre-batched cocktails, wine, and beer, but the focus will stay on cocktails over recreating a taproom in that space. “The taphouse had 24 taps; we’re not going to do 24 taps,” he says. “It’ll be cocktail heavy but also with beer — the taps are there anyway.”
As for the space they had designed for Bourbon Street, that will become a regular private event and pop-up space, also home to specific one-off dinners and themed meals. He’s still considering hosting some of the Cajun-Creole meals planned for Bourbon Street in pop-up form within that space — just not as a full-time project. In particular, Anthony Brown is excited to use the back room as a place to host live music and comedy shows, with its own bar. “It opens up an opportunity,” he says. “We’ll be hosting some live music things, we’re going to be doing comedy night, movie night — those fun things that NE Fremont doesn’t have.”
For the Browns, serving the neighborhood has been a crucial part of their business plan: They’re planning on inviting many of the Fremont-area neighbors to the space to get to know the family and the businesses as a sort of “town hall,” in Anthony Brown’s words, a way to sort of introduce themselves to the community in a larger way. “It feels like a close-knit community,” he says. “We want families to come, and if your kids don’t want to have dinner, they can have ice cream, and you can have a cocktail, maybe a nibble of Cajun fries. Maybe your kids want to get up and walk around, and you can’t do that with a restaurant, but here you can. That’s the vibe we want to bring.”
Karnival Korner will open by October 1, and Bourbon Street will open November 1, all within the Alameda Hop: 4765 NE Fremont Street.