As Houston’s boundaries continue to change and expand, neighbors and neighborhoods are pushed further apart. However, a local business owner is now trying a new avenue of restoring this area’s sense of community engagement and togetherness to where it was all those years ago.
Beginning June 3, Cavatore owner Federico Cavatore will open Eleanora’s Market, a farmer and artisan market featuring more than 40 vendors (such as Gunderman Farms, Micro Greens, Angela’s Breads, Three Brothers Bakery and more) selling high-quality produce, cheeses, meats, baked goods, art, textiles, flowers and more in the Cavatore parking lot.
Running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each subsequent Saturday, rain or shine, Eleanora’s Market will feature live music from local acoustic guitar player/singer Ryan Guidry, food trucks – such as Cousin’s Lobster and other local fare — and more.
Beginning with March of Dimes in June, Cavatore’s creation will also raise funds for a different non-profit each month with selling of raffle tickets for prizes from different restaurants, wineries, food trucks, and more.
“It pretty much has everything you could want,” Cavatore said.
When Cavatore embarked upon the decision to create Eleanora’s Market about a year ago, it was with an eye towards bringing the neighborhood back to its roots, which he fears have been slightly lost amidst its burgeoning growth.
“This neighborhood (Garden Oaks/Oak Forest/the Heights) has changed so much in the last seven to 10 years, and there really isn’t something that’s a focal point for the community. You have one market that’s once a month— not a weekly engagement,” he said.
Drawing upon inspiration from existing markets such as Urban Harvest over on the south side of town each Saturday, Cavatore said he desires that type of connection and environment close to home.
“It’s a community gathering where you bump into people you know — neighbors, colleagues,” he said. “It’s something you want to take part in because vendors are changing and there’s all these different things, so I wanted to create that same feel here in the inner loop.”
As plans have progressed over the last year, Cavatore has heard the words that every pioneer longs to hear.
“I’ve talked about it with a lot of different vendors and friends in the neighborhood, and they’ve all said they want something like this so they don’t have to go all the way to the other side of town,” he said. “We’re our own neighborhood, and we’re really excited about it.”
Local small businesses, such as Parker Boots out of Oak Forest — displaying custom-made boots, belts and wallets — will showcase their products for all to see. For the kids (or those simply young at heart), Eleanora’s market will also feature caricature stations and other kid-friendly booths across the sprawling lot, providing patrons a cornucopia of options.
“There’s going to be so many types of vendors, it won’t be your typical farmer’s market. We’ve got all the things your typical farmer’s market has, but we are also bringing in small local artists that have an incredible products they want to show their neighbors,” Cavatore said. “We’re going to show a lot of things in need and bring awareness to the companies in our area that can offer the families and residents products they can pick up every Saturday.”
Cavatore knows his family’s restaurant and means of support would be nowhere near the staple it is without the community’s backing, and said Eleanora’s Market is also an attempt to simply give back to the neighborhood which has provided him so much in the best way he knows how.
“Without the community, the restaurant wouldn’t be in business, because they’ve really supported us over the last 35 years,” he said. “It’s hopefully going to be a place a lot of people want to come and check things out, see what’s available, and see that it’s coming from quality companies that take pride in what they do — it’s local.”
Cavatore hopes the establishment’s long-standing presence at one of the neighborhood’s focal points and its unique premise will distinguish the weekly gathering from other attempts to revive the market scene which have since gone by the wayside.
“We’re trying to separate ourselves from that farmer’s market mentality and bring other things in you normally wouldn’t find and help out local businesses,” he said. “The neighborhood has been calling for this, and it’s been a great thing — we’re excited about it.
Eleanora’s Market is accepting new vendors every day in efforts to keep the market new and fresh.
“We’ll have a lot of the same vendors, but with 40 or 50 parking spots in our lot, we can adjust seasonally,” Cavatore said. “Every month you’ll see new vendors, but you’ll also see some of the ones that did so well. What’s cool about it is you’re allowed to bring in new people and fresh ideas — it won’t ever get redundant.”
Parking for Eleanora’s Market will be available up and down 21st and 22nd Streets, as well as neighboring Tony’s Mexican Restaurant and Rainbow Lodge, for patrons from local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. To keep up with the happenings at Eleanora’s Market, readers can visit and ‘Like’ the Eleanora’s Market Facebook page.