Baton Rouge-based Piccadilly Restaurants announced today that it has created a new division within the company: emergency services. The new division will allow the restaurant and food service company to feed people on a mass scale anywhere around the country following a disaster. Chief Operating Officer Chris Sanchez says Piccadilly has a new, custom-built emergency kitchen that enables it to serve up to 100,000 meals a day. The company is not entirely new to emergency food service. Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Piccadilly says it served 10,000 meals a day and a total of more than 100,000 following the two storms. Over the years, Piccadilly says it has provided more than 500,000 emergency relief meals via partnerships with the American Red Cross, various state and local governments, as well as utility companies.
On the heels of being crowned the 2013 King of Louisiana Seafood for his Speckled Trout Perdu entrée, Chef Cody Carroll is looking to open a new restaurant to complement his Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads. But Carroll, who lives in Baton Rouge and is a graduate of both LSU and the Louisiana Culinary Institute, is weighing options in a big decision. He can either try to replicate the success of his restaurant in Baton Rouge or set his sights a bit higher and try to establish himself among the world-class chefs of New Orleans. "Baton Rouge—although it has definitely evolved—is still not a destination for the food industry. In New Orleans, you have people flying in from all over the world who are coming to dine out," says Carroll, who is looking at possible locations in both cities. "That's a huge difference to a chef." But while New Orleans offers the chance for chefs like Carroll to really test and hone their culinary craft, the Crescent City is also a bigger risk. In...
Plans for a beer and pizza joint in the former Stella Boutique near the Perkins Road overpass have hit a major snag over issues related to a lack of parking at the site. New Orleans businessman Jack Rizzuto, who owns Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, says he has let expire his option to acquire the 2,500-square-foot building. He has also withdrawn a rezoning request that, if granted, would have allowed him to serve alcohol at the restaurant. Rizzuto's attorney, Chris Young, says while plans for the Ice House Coal Fired Pizza and Pizzeria at 3033 Perkins Road are not dead, "they're on major life support." Young says the problem centers on Rizzuto's inability to secure adequate parking for the pizzeria. City-parish law requires restaurants to have parking within 100 feet of the establishment, and the only parking lot that satisfied that requirement for Rizzuto's planned restaurant is a gravel lot under the Perkins Road overpass, which is leased by...
Katrina Smith hopes to relocate her New Orleans Breakfast and Pancake House restaurant from Gretna to Baton Rouge by the end of the summer. Smith says she's finalizing a deal to locate the restaurant, which will be renamed New Orleans Breakfast and Grill, in a space inside the Carriage Crossing complex on O'Neal Lane, near the intersection at George O'Neal Road. "We want to put it in an area where there are not many New Orleans-style restaurants," says Smith, who relocated to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "We want to bring a real taste of New Orleans to the good people of Baton Rouge for welcoming so many of us here. We want to bring them foods here that they'd otherwise have to drive 75 miles for." Among the offerings at the Baton Rouge location, Smith says, will be beignets made according to the authentic Café Du Monde recipe. Unlike the current Gretna restaurant, Smith says, the Baton Rouge location will serve dinner. It will feature seating for at least...
Though it has only been one week since Zorba's Greek Bistro opened for business, Dinos Economides has noticed several changes in the dozen years since he last operated a restaurant in Baton Rouge. "Diners are more sophisticated," says Economides, who closed his popular Zorba's restaurant on Perkins Road in 2001 and opened the new restaurant at 5713 Essen Lane on May 23. "There are a lot more upscale restaurants in town than there used to be, so diners are more discerning." Along with that trend, Economides has noticed demand for a broader wine selection, which he is trying to meet by offering more wines by the glass. Wholesalers and suppliers also offer a much wider variety of fresh meats and seafood than they did a decade or so ago, says Economides, whose new menu places a heavy emphasis on fresh, made-to-order dishes. That said, one week into the new business, the most popular items on the menu are the old favorites that longtime customers still ask for—though the prices they...
A Chicago chain restaurant will open in the former Bravo! Cucina spot near the Mall of Louisiana. Bar Louie, a restaurant specializing in signature cocktails, martinis and a range of dishes, is slated to welcome its first guests June 11. Marketing Manager Ashley Kouns says the location is perfect for Bar Louie, citing the "thriving local economy" and "strong student population." The area, Kouns says, is a "mecca for young savvy business professionals needing a place like Bar Louie to unwind." The menus for both drink and food are extensive. The martini list alone is stacked with 16 different takes on the drink. Among the food items are small plates, salads, flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, and large plates such as fish and chips and meatball pasta. The full menu will be served 11 to 2 a.m., seven days a week, Kouns says. Get your fill of local culinary news in the new 225 Dine e-newsletter here.
Restaurant IPO's pequeño tacos are the perfect demonstration of Executive Chef Chris Wadsworth's passion: infusing world cuisine with Louisiana ingredients in a tapas format.
Know of a new business, restaurant or service in Baton Rouge? Tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a corner within Perkins Rowe, surrounded by retail establishments, sits Bin 77. A respite from the frenzy of the shopping masses, Bin 77 is a small plates–wine bar with an inviting patio and softly lit interior. There is an ample bar in the center of the space and a wall of retail bottles displayed at the back should you particularly enjoy that Pinot Noir you had with your meal. The interior color theme is weighted heavily with purple, so much so that it might make doves cry and Prince proud, yet it all works.
Score bonus points with your colleagues or weekend houseguests by skipping the traditional box of doughnuts and introducing them to the biscone.
One glance at Beausoleil's menu and it's clear that founder and Executive Chef Nathan Gresham likes playing with local ingredients. He consistently buys meats, seafood, produce and other items from regional farmers and producers, some of whom he makes time to visit face to face. "There's so much to work with now, and the taste and quality of these local products is so much better," Gresham says. We deconstructed one of his most popular and mouthwatering dishes, fried chicken livers with black-eyed pea hummus and bacon jam, to show how the hunt for ingredients comes together on the plate.
At a time when downtown is welcoming a slew of new restaurants, bars and specialty shops, it has lost its only ice cream parlor: Capital Creamery, which closed in late April after its lease was not renewed. "We were kind of disappointed," says owner David Le. "But it is what it is." Snappy Jacobs, who manages the building at North Boulevard and Third Street that housed Capital Creamery, says it was time to move in another direction, adding that he is working on a deal that will involve the newly vacated space as well as the adjacent space that the Downtown Newsstand previously occupied. "It has taken longer than I wanted," says Jacobs, who began working on the deal after the newsstand closed last fall. "But we're still working on it and are encouraged." Le, who acquired Capital Creamery in 2008, says business was always touch and go, despite the store's location in the heart of the central business district. "It was good when we had events or Live After Five," he says. "But ice cream...
Perfect for family picnics, summer campers' backpacks and lazy road trips, the sandwich is the official food of summer. Hunting down interesting renditions is one of my favorite pastimes. There are a lot of noteworthy sandwiches in Baton Rouge—from Anthony's Italian Deli's famed muffoletto to The Chimes' oyster po-boy. Here are three under-the-radar standouts that are worth trying.
A popular Baton Rouge food truck will be out of commission temporarily after it was struck allegedly by a drunk driver and destroyed. Bogdan Mocanu's Wood Fired Pizza truck was hit Tuesday night around 8:30 p.m. Mocanu says the incident occurred after a successful food truck event at Pecan Grove Elementary School in Gonzales. The Gonzales Police Department confirms the accident and states the driver hit the food truck trailer as well as another vehicle. Officers say the driver has been charged with a DWI and reckless operation of a vehicle. Mocanu says his trailer is destroyed. A day after the accident, Mocanu was in poor spirits. Though he wants to begin serving customers again as soon as possible, he doesn't see that as a possibility right now. "I think I will lay low for a little bit, and I hate doing this," he says. "It's my passion to cook for all these people. It's the way I live my crazy dreams. For me, I lost my way of expressing myself." Mocanu says he will meet with his...
May is National Burger Month, and the Red Stick has more than a few options if what you want is a great burger. Each week, Maxwell's Market locations have been celebrating the American staple with its Burger of the Week, taking the normal dish and fashioning it into the talk of the town. Maxwell's launched this serial innovation last year. Some of Maxwell's past burgers include the Breakfast Bistro Burger, with a fried egg and bacon; the Wang Chuck Burger, with peanut-Sriracha sauce; and the Blue Apple Burger, with slices of red apple and blue cheese. This week's variation is the Cowboy Burger, dressed with peppered applewood bacon, barbecue sauce, beer-braised onion rings and light mayo. Read the full story on Maxwell's burgers and others around town and get your fill of local culinary news in this week's edition of the 225 Dine e-newsletter here.
The Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn, both on North Mall Drive near Siegen Lane, have been acquired for $15.6 million by the Lightstone Group, a privately held real estate company that owns and manages a diverse portfolio of office, retail, residential and industrial properties around the U.S. The motels were previously owned by Olshan Hotel Management, a San Marcos, Fla.-based company that built the Courtyard and Residence motels in 1997 and 2000, respectively, and has managed them since. Both motels will continue to operate under the Marriott flag, which is the No. 1 brand in the industry based on reservations. Earlier this spring, Olshan's John Dougherty told Daily Report his company's decision to sell was not based on the performance of the properties, both of which have average occupancy rates of between 75% and 80%. "Rather, it's part of an overall strategic plan that we're getting out of that market and moving into other opportunities," Dougherty said at...
Last In Concepts, the restaurant group behind Walk-On's, The Roux House, Happy's and others, has hired Chef Jeremy Coco as its director of culinary operations and training. Coco will primarily focus on developing the menu and training the staff at all Walk-On's locations. Coco has an impressive background: He has worked at Juban's and was formerly the executive chef at Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette as well as at Fleming's in Baton Rouge, in addition to serving as the dean of education at the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Walk-On's co-owner Jack Warner says Coco will improve patrons' experience. "We want to build a better team to grow [Walk-On's]. To take that to the next level, we needed to bring in [someone to] teach, coach, train and lead our staff," he says. Coco says he wants to concentrate on fixing the small things now before developing any new menu items and that he thinks the future is bright for Walk-On's. "This company has great growth potential," Coco says. "I have a...
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector. Check out photos of the dishes from Collin Richie here.
Jack Warner has heard all the stories about the inconsistency at Walk-On's. Warner will be the first to admit that the food has been an afterthought in the restaurant and bar's decade-long run."If you liked our étouffée or gumbo one day, you might get something completely different the next day," Warner says. "We messed up so many things repeatedly. Now, we've figured out a lot of things, but we have an opportunity to grow on the food side."To improve on the kitchen and culinary aspects of Walk-On's, Warner and Brandon Landry's Last in Concepts have hired Chef Jeremy Coco as its director of culinary operations and training. Coco will primarily focus on developing the menu and training staff at all Walk-On's locations.Coco has an extensive résumé—he has worked at Juban's, was the executive chef at Café Vermilionville in Lafayette and Fleming's in Baton Rouge, and served as the Dean of Education at the Louisiana Culinary Institute (LCI).
Our food critic responds to Rien Fertel's "City Portrait" of Baton Rouge, published in the March/April edition of Garden & Gun magazine
Louisiana restaurateurs and retailers who have been holding off on a renovation could soon get some encouraging news. A measure is winding its way through Congress that would permanently extend the 15-year recovery period for qualified improvements on restaurant and retail properties. Proponents, including local restaurant owner Jim Urdiales, say the extension would spur construction. "If you guarantee a 15-year schedule over 30 years, we'll see some restaurants who were putting this off from last year go ahead and do it now," says Urdiales, who owns Mestizo Restaurant. The 15-year depreciation schedule would otherwise expire at the end of this year, giving some restaurant owners heartburn about moving forward with needed renovations. The National Restaurant Association estimates that restaurants undergo renovations every six to eight years just to stay current and combat the effects of daily high traffic. Sen. Robert Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, filed the measure last month.
Ruffino's previously announced deal to purchase Cochon Lafayette on the Vermilion River closed today for $3.3 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction. The new restaurant—Ruffino's on the River—will open May 20. "We are very excited about opening our doors in Lafayette," say Ruffino's co-owners, Ruffin Rodrigue and Peter Sclafani, in a written statement. "The community has welcomed us with open arms, and we look forward to bringing the same energy and experience of Ruffino's Baton Rouge to Lafayette." Cochon Lafayette closed earlier this year so that the restaurant could focus on the New Orleans market, where Chef Donald Link's upscale Cajun fare has been better received than it was in the heart of Acadiana. Ruffino's on the River hopes to succeed where Cochon failed by focusing on the cuisine that has proven so popular among its diners in Baton Rouge—steaks, seafood and Italian. Sclafani says the Lafayette menu will be very similar to that at the...
Street Breads, the Lake Charles-based eatery, opened its Baton Rouge location in the Perkins Road overpass area on Monday. By Tuesday, a crowd had packed into Street Breads, eager to try its concoctions of fresh-made sauces, spreads and breads. The concept is not unlike a Subway or Izzo's, with the ingredients displayed so you can see the sandwiches being built right in front of you. However, there is a wide range of ingredients and flavors, with sauces and fresh toppings prepared daily. You can try an Italian Roast Beef, topped with Asiago cheese, sun-dried tomato relish, Cajun rémoulade and bacon; or the Mediterranean Portobello, which features the meaty mushroom along with eggplant, zucchini, feta cheese, sun-dried tomato and pesto hummus. Each sandwich comes prepared on fine artisan bread, in a wrap or pita, or on fresh focaccia. Delivery and online ordering will begin in about a month, says owner Josh Priola, and a pickup window will be in service then, too. Access the complete...
The $17 million Hampton Inn & Suites is set to open at Lafayette and Main streets downtown on Friday, pending some final certifications from its parent company, Hilton Worldwide. Allison Crump, director of sales for the new hotel, says Hampton is already taking online reservations for Friday, May 10, and later. Bookings for this weekend will commence as soon as Hilton gives the go-ahead, she says. "We have a lot of demand, and it's going to do fabulous," Crump says. "Many people are interested in the hotel. It's beautiful." Most of the hotel's 137 guest rooms include balconies with Mississippi River views. A staff of 40 full-time employees is already in place. The seven-story hotel will offer guests complimentary breakfast, access to a fitness center, and 1,000 square feet of meeting space. —April Castro
The Dolce Vita Wood Fired Pizza and Three Bones BBQ food trucks will set up shop in the shopping center parking lot on South Acadian Thruway and Perkins Road for dinner five nights a week and all day Saturday starting tonight. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. For more information, visit Dolce Vita's Facebook page and Three Bones BBQ's Facebook page.
Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, a United States celebration of Mexican heritage and culture that tends to draw crowds to many local Mexican restaurants. Several such restaurants are marking the occasion with drink specials and live music.
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote will team up with Restaurant IPO chef Chris Wadsworth for a movie villain-themed dinner Wednesday, May 8, and tickets are going fast. A limited number of spots are still available. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased online.
Watch the Kentucky Derby in style at Juban's (Map it!) Saturday at the Junior League of Baton Rouge's Triple Crown event. This fundraiser for the Junior League features live music, free cigars, bourbon tasting, casino games and more while the big horse races are screened.
Street Breads, the Lake Charles-based shop, opened its Baton Rouge location (Map it!) Monday. By Tuesday, a crowd had already packed into Street Breads, eager to try its concoctions of fresh-made sauces, spreads and breads.
GoYaYa's CrepesMain Street Market
501 Main StreetOpen: Mon.-Fri.,
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.;
Sat., 8 a.m.-noon
Tucked away on Coursey Boulevard near the Sherwood Forest Boulevard intersection sits Portico.
Brian Medlin, owner of Smokin' Aces BBQ on Government Street, knew that opening a barbecue restaurant in Baton Rouge that both locals and travelers would love would be a challenge. However, since opening in October last year, the “shack”-style joint has maintained a loyal customer base.
Had you told Kasie Coleman she would have her own Baton Rouge bakery a few years ago, she probably would have laughed. However, Coleman's life changed in 2010 when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma. A former pharmaceuticals rep, Coleman was in and out of work, and then eventually laid off. With free time on her hands, she picked up baking—which was also her grandmother's special talent—and started giving away goods to her friends. Coleman eventually decided to open up her own shop, Sugar Belle Bakery, at 5151 Plank Road. Since opening its doors last weekend, she has routinely sold out of whoopee pies, Bundt cakes, cupcakes, pralines, and teacakes. To read more on Coleman's story and to get your fill of culinary news, check out the new issue of 225 Dine here.
February occupancy tax collections in East Baton Rouge Parish, at $345,838, were up more than 11% over monthly collections during the month last year, the board of directors for Visit Baton Rouge reports. Year to date, occupancy tax collections are now up 7% over 2012 figures, says Visit Baton Rouge communications coordinator Christy Chachere. Though a release from the board didn't elaborate on the February increase in taxes collected on hotel and motel stays, it is likely in part because of spillover from the Super Bowl held in New Orleans on Feb. 3. A report from Smith Travel Research says spillover demand in Baton Rouge fueled a 48% increase in occupancy during the weekend of Feb. 1-3, compared to the weekend in 2012. Hotel revenue during the weekend exceeded $2.5 million, up 117% over the $1.2 million netted during the same weekend in 2012. Also today, the board discussed an audit of Visit Baton Rouge's 2012 financials and OK'd a bonus of $15,017.40 for CEO/President Paul Arrigo.
Chef and 225 contributor Jay Ducote has a little something deliciously evil planned with Restaurant IPO chef Chris Wadsworth for Wednesday, May 8.
This weekend's 27th Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette will draw world music lovers from the region and around the country for an annual celebration of the French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences that shaped Louisiana. Along with great musicians like The Wailers, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Sergent Garcia, Red Baarat and others, the festival offers plenty of hospitable eats.
With a menu offering fresh fried chicken, beignets, shrimp and grits and more, Leroy's is now open at 4001 Nicholson Dr. in the space formerly occupied by Cou-yon's (Map it!). The family-friendly kitchen had a soft opening earlier this week, according to Leroy's brand strategist Renee Trusty. The concept comes from Steven Hightower, owner of Frankie's Dawg House, who will be incorporating modern twists on diner-style food, as well as aiming to take comfort food up a notch. The recipes and restaurant's feel are based on family gatherings Hightower recalls from childhood. Trusty says Leroy's is targeting everyone from college students to those who just got out of church. "When you come in, we want you to feel like you're part of...
For 13 years, Jacob Couvillion heard how Baton Rouge missed Nooley's.
If you've driven on Interstate 10 near the College Drive exit, you have no doubt noticed the bright blue logo for The Pelican House. The bar/restaurant specializes in high-end beers, with more than 130 taps at its main bar and an additional bar with even more beers on tap, as well as a large selection of bottled beers, whiskeys, scotches and bourbons.
Local restaurants will participant in the Dining Out For Life national event tonight. Five participating restaurants—Bistro Byronz, California Pizza Kitchen, Mestizos, Monjunis and Stroubes—will donate 25% of their lunch or dinner sales to the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two (HAART).
Kasie Coleman is a perfectionist. On a Wednesday afternoon in her new shop, Sugar Belle bakery on Plank Road (Map it!), she's glancing at a lemon cream cheese pound cake, noticing its crust is too crumbly. She couldn't possibly sell that.Since opening last Saturday, Sugar Belle has consistently sold out of its delicious lineup of bundt cakes, whoopee pies, teacakes, cupcakes and pralines.The problem with being a perfectionist and the new sweets goddess around town is she has to constantly bake fresh goods."I haven't worked this hard since I don't know when," Coleman says, laughing.Owning a bakery was something she never would have imagined a few years ago.
With a menu offering, among other things, fresh fried chicken, beignets, and shrimp and grits, Leroy's will open Thursday at 4001 Nicholson Drive in the space formerly occupied by Cou-yon's. The family-friendly kitchen had a soft opening earlier this week, according to COO Renee Trusty. The concept comes from Steven Hightower, owner of Frankie's Dawg House, who will be incorporating modern twists on diner-esque food, as well as aiming to take comfort food up a notch. The recipes and restaurant's feel are based on family gatherings Hightower recalls from childhood. Trusty says Leroy's is targeting everyone from college students to those who just got out of church. "When you come in, we want you to feel like you're part of something," she says. By mid-May, Leroy's plans to be open for breakfast, serving combo plates as well as eggs Benedict with a beignet base. For more information and a look at Leroy's menu, visit its website
The land of scrapple and chipped ham is starting to get a taste for jambalaya and boudin, thanks to an influx of Southerners filling jobs in north-central Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry. The Associated Press reports the region, which is not often placed on culinary maps, is finding itself flush with the food-ways found below the Mason-Dixon line, the source of some of the nation's richest culinary traditions. Suddenly, convenience stores stock sweet tea, barbecue is a hot seller, and the almost Norman Rockwell-quaint Country Store in Pennsdale is making its own boudin. Store owner and Pennsylvania native Tom Springman had never heard of boudin until a few months ago, when a customer—a relocated Southerner—came in looking for a local source. "They're paying for 50 to 100 pounds of boudin to be shipped in from Louisiana. I'm thinking, We could make this easy," Springman says. At Hurley's Fresh Markets in Towanda and Dushore, the offerings are starting to look a...
Is Baton Rouge the best place in the South for a weekend getaway? The best daytrip from New Orleans? Is it home to the best college football stadium in the SEC? How about home to the best casino? These are some of the questions AAA is asking readers of its Southern Traveler magazine as part of its annual Best of the South survey. Baton Rouge or attractions within it are up for four awards, for which voting has opened online. The polls will close on Friday, May 17, and the winners will be featured in the July/August issue of the magazine. In the Best Southern Weekend Getaway category, Baton Rouge is up against New Orleans and Memphis. For Best Daytrip from New Orleans, Lafayette and the Mississippi Gulf Coast are up against the Great River Road plantations of the Capital Region. LSU's Tiger Stadium is vying for the Best Stadium title against those on the Arkansas and Ole Miss campuses. And L'Auberge Casino & Hotel is up against Harrah's in New Orleans and Beau Rivage in Biloxi...
Wayne Stabiler, the man behind The Little Village and Le Creolé restaurants, is almost ready to open his next venture: Stab's Steak and Seafood. The high-end restaurant, focusing more on steaks than seafood, should be ready to open by June in the TND in Central called The Village at Magnolia Square, he says. Stab's will feature Sunday brunch and outdoor dining on a patio that features a "fire fountain," with water spilling from the sides and fire at the center, similar to the one found at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. The executive chef will be Justin McVey, and the sous-chef will be Patrick Brown, both of whom have been cooking at Stabiler's other restaurants. Stablier says he didn't know much about Central at first, but decided the concept would work after some research. "They've got a lot of money in that area," he says. "It's just a real close-knit community that I think is going to rally around this restaurant." —David Jacobs
Chef and 225 blogger Jay Ducote took a drive over to Le Creolé, a seafood and Creole restaurant on East Petroleum Drive, to try a top-selling item—the crab cake.
The Red Stick can add a foodie award to its wall after acquiring around 1,800 votes and winning the ConventionSouth poll for the South's Best Foodie Cities for Groups. Baton Rouge garnered 700 more votes than the second-place city Jackson, Miss. Nearly 5,000 people voted in the poll overall earlier this month, and Baton Rouge beat out cities from Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and even New Orleans in the Gulf States Region category. The award and poll was made to find "the best of the best when it comes to offering traveling groups a wide selection of unique, intriguing and delicious cuisine," ConventionSouth Associate Publisher and Editor Marlane Bundock says. "Whether groups are coming to town for a business meeting, trade show, wedding or other event, their attendees are sure to be delighted by the food offered at these cities." —Matthew Sigur
Fans of crawfish should be gearing up for tonight's CrawFête event from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Mockler Beverage Company, 11811 Reiger Rd. The Baton Rouge Epicurean Society is hosting the event, which features a range of crawfish dishes from area chefs as well as craft beers, wines and spirits.
The Drew Rodrigue Foundation will be hosting the fourth annual Bugs & Brew for Drew Crawfish Cook-off and Beer Festival, which will take place at a new location on the banks of the Mississippi River at River City Plaza at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans on April 20, 2013 from 11:00 a.m–5:00 p.m. Featuring a crawfish competition, Louisiana beer garden, local music, and children's entertainment, this family-friendly festival will benefit the Drew Rodrigue Foundation, a local non-profit which celebrates heroes in the face of adversity, in honor of Drew Rodrigue, a local football coach who battled against cancer.
At the end of 2000, Dinos and Polina Economides shut down Zorba's, a community-favorite traditional Greek restaurant near the intersection of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard. The couple traveled back to their homeland of Cyprus for more than a decade and learned some new Grecian recipes during the stay. When the Economideses returned last year, they decided to bring back the eatery. However, this time around, it will be a smaller bistro concept, seating 50 to 55 diners. The new Zorba's will open in May in the Essen Crossing Shopping Center next to French Quarter Daiquiris, Dinos Economides says, a plan that has excited attention from the former restaurant's regulars. "We've already got people talking about it," Economides says. "Lots of friends are hearing about it and calling me. I think it won't take much time to get a lot of our old customers back." The bistro will lay emphasis on fresh foods, Economides says, and traditional dishes like moussaka will be baked individually...
Rotolo's Pizzeria is opening its 29th restaurant today in Denham Springs, marking the casual dining chain's ninth outlet in the Baton Rouge area and fifth new restaurant since the beginning of the year. "We've opened quite a few stores in just the past few months, and we have several more in development," says owner Mitch Rotolo, who established the first Rotolo's on Nicholson Drive near LSU in 1996 but did not begin expanding and franchising his brand until after Hurricane Katrina. Revenues have nearly doubled since last summer—to $25 million from $13 million—and increased some tenfold over the past five years. Though he declines to disclose margins, Rotolo says the 14 company-owned restaurants in the chain are profitable, while the 15 franchise stores are doing well for their owners. "I don't think it's aggressive expansion so much as it is that our prices are competitive," he says. "You can feed a family of four for $50." Despite the apparent competition of pizzeria...
Ruffino's Executive Chef, Peter Sclafani, won't be in the kitchen at the popular Highland Road restaurant this weekend. Instead, he'll be preparing some of his most creative signature dishes for a crowd of 75 diners at the prestigious James Beard Foundation home in the West Village of New York City. "I've been trying to get it for a long time," says Sclafani, of a coveted invitation to cook at the Beard home, which showcases the work of some of the country's finest chefs. "This is my first time so we're really excited about it." Sclafani says his meal, which will be served Saturday night, will feature plenty of Louisiana seafood, something he has been trying especially hard to promote since being appointed earlier this year to the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Among the dishes on Sclafani's menu are, for appetizers: charbroiled oysters, shrimp corn dogs, corn and crab shooters, and crawfish arancini; while he'll be serving crab cheesecake with meyer lemon foam,...
A Panera Bread bakery and café is still planned for Baton Rouge, says the owner of the franchise rights in south Louisiana, but it won't be built and open until September at the earliest. Tom Krings has been working to open a Baton Rouge franchise since late 2010, and has had to change the planned location along the way. He says he is still in negotiations to lease four acres of land on the east side of Jefferson Highway, just south of Corporate Boulevard. “I think we're close to making things final there,” says Krings, who has 21 Panera Franchises total in Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Krings says he's also working the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on a curb cut issue at the site. “Once all that's done, we're off to the races,” he says. “I have a local construction company that is ready to begin—Faulk and Meek—and our expectation is for a September opening there.” Krings had planned...
Mansurs on the Boulevard will host a wine and food pairing next Wednesday, April 10, coupling fine dishes with selections from the Whitehall Lane vineyard. The menu items on tap for next week's dinner are a butter-poached diver scallop, crepes stuffed with cinnamon-marinated duck breast, espresso-braised short ribs paired with lamb lollipops, and panna cotta for dessert. Tickets are $100 per person. To make your reservation, call 923-3366.
After more than 50 years serving Mexican food on Airline Highway, the Karides family plans to close the doors of La Fonda for good Saturday. Mary Ann Bolger's 76-year-old mother, Panagiota Karides, has been working at La Fonda for more than three decades and is the sole family member left at the restaurant. Bolger says other members of the Karides family, which is of Greek descent, have tried to help with the business from a distance.
Boiled crawfish piled high on backyard tables might be the enduring way to consume the celebrated Louisiana crustacean, but the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society and Mockler Beverage Company want you to enjoy crawfish in its many forms, including salads, tarts, pad Thai, charcuterie and more. The two organizations will co-host the gourmet crawfish festival CrawFête on Thursday, April 18, at Mockler Beverage Company, 11811 Reiger Rd.
The Belle of Baton Rouge is exploring options to develop its atrium into a mixed-use space that would include new restaurants and retailers. The casino and hotel has hired a consulting firm to help it evaluate the interest level of vendors who might be a good fit for the 55,000-square-foot space. "We are hiring an outside consultant to help us fill up some of the retail space we have available," says Mike Donovan, marketing director for the downtown casino. "It's all contingent on us being able to get some sort of critical mass of folks who want to bring businesses down here." Donovan says the Belle has a master plan for developing the space but that the company doesn't want to "spend millions on a mixed-use facility and have no one in there." While the consultants evaluate options—a process that is expected to take several months—the Belle has made some changes to the facility to improve access and atmosphere. "We have doing some things on the atrium side with...
The trial of former Pizza Hut magnate Larry Lundy, who was forced to shutter his 44 restaurants in 2011—including 16 in the Capital Region—after years of worsening relations with the restaurant chain is now slated to begin in September, The Times-Picayune reports. The trial had been scheduled to start on April 29, but Judge David Godbey of Federal District Court in Dallas has rescheduled the trial for Sept. 30. The trial is set to last one week. "It is extremely unlikely that any further continuances will be granted," Godbey says in his order. The pizza chain filed suit Jan. 3, 2011, claiming Lundy Enterprises had fallen behind on royalty payments. Pizza Hut and Lundy Enterprises, which had 1,200 employees across 64 stores in south Louisiana at its height a decade ago, spent much of 2011 in arbitration. Both sides reached a deal that would have transferred Lundy's assets to Pizza Hut, federal court records show, but the value of the assets, pegged at $7.8 million,...
After more than 50 years of serving Mexican food at 7838 Airline Highway, the Karides family plans to close the doors of La Fonda for good on Saturday. Mary Ann Bolger's 76-year-old mother, Panagiota Karides, has been working at the restaurant for more than three decades and is the sole family member left at the restaurant. Bolger says other members of the Karides family, which is of Greek descent, have tried to help with the business from a distance, but to little avail. The restaurant, which has survived three moves since opening in 1961, has seen a decline in business, says Bolger, who formerly worked at the restaurant. She says La Fonda is not only the first Mexican restaurant in the Baton Rouge area, but a local landmark. "We've been using the same recipes all these years," Bolger says. "Some waitresses have been here since they were 18 years old. It will be sad it see it go." Already, Bolger says she's getting emotional about the final week. "I walked in here last night and was...
"After a lifetime in the shadows of its culinarily renowned neighbors, Louisiana's capital city is finally cooking," reads the opening of a new profile of Baton Rouge in Garden & Gun magazine. The piece is written by former Baton Rouge resident Rien Fertel, who says, "I have always found Baton Rouge to be geographically and culturally 'unorientable,' with a river lined by casinos and industry, a farrago of congested highways, infamously corrupt government, and a massive university plunked in its midst." But since Hurricane Katrina, Fertel says things have changed. "Baton Rouge has witnessed large numbers of formerly itinerant, culinary-minded young professionals root themselves in this city rather than New Orleans," the profile says. "And these chefs, farmers, and other entrepreneurs are redistricting the city's gastronomic map." The complete profile highlights Tin Roof Brewery, Dolce Vita, Restaurant IPO, Magpie Café, Juban's, Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar, among other local...
It's one of Zeeland Street Market's most popular lunchtime items: pepper seared fresh Gulf tuna sliced and served over a bed of mesclun with avocado and grapefruit sections, blue cheese crumbles and drizzles of raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
After you make it past the din of the casino floor, perhaps with a lighter wallet, you reach 18 Steak, the fine dining restaurant of the new L'Auberge Casino & Hotel.
Tsunami's Shaw Center location and Restaurant IPO, both located in downtown Baton Rouge, are among the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in the country, according to OpenTable, which provides online restaurant reservations. The awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants nationwide, according to the company. Tsunami and IPO were the only Louisiana restaurants on the list.
You might find yourself sipping a rare ale or fine bourbon in a brand-new bar off Corporate Boulevard this time next month. The Pelican House, a bar/restaurant specializing in high-end beers, whiskeys and bar food, is set to open in late April, co-owner and operating partner Garret Morgan says. The Pelican House will feature more than 130 taps at its main bar, plus an additional bar with another selection of taps. The new bar/restaurant will also feature a large bottled beer, whiskey, scotch and bourbon menu. Morgan says an outdoor patio and possible live entertainment are also in the works. The owners have also brought in Chef Noah Lessard to do some "fun" dishes. "We're going to offer Louisiana fare and twists on certain bar items," Morgan says. "We're going to find a nice medium with weekly rotating specials. We want to incorporate some fun, fresh ingredients." —Matthew Sigur Get more local culinary news from the new 225 Dine e-newsletter
Many of the shops at Acadian Shopping Center are scheduled to open this fall, and the spaces are filling up quickly. Among the many tenants planned is La Divina Italian Café, a new restaurant that specializes in local ingredients and Italian-inspired dishes, gelato, sorbet, salads and soups. La Divina Gelateria started in 2007 in New Orleans on Magazine Street with a focus on lunch items, gelato and coffees. Since opening, La Divina has expanded with two more locations in New Orleans. The Baton Rouge café will be the fourth overall for the Louisiana business. Co-owner/co-founder Katrina Turillo says the café could be open between October and November. Though Turillo and her team haven't decided the hours and dishes for the new spot, she will bring a mission of sustainability with her. "For us, it goes back to the Italian tradition," she says. "Italian recipes in general are rather simple and rely a lot on the flavor of the individual ingredient. Usually, what will taste best is what...
If everything goes smoothly, Josh Priola could have his Baton Rouge Street Breads location open as early as next Friday. But Priola says that's optimism talking. "We have to make sure we execute well," he says. "That's the biggest thing. As of now, I'd say we're 99 percent there." The new sandwich shop will open up in the former Loft 3H space in the Perkins Road overpass area. Street Breads specializes in almost 20 sandwiches and other items built from scratch each day with flavors stretching across the culinary map—Argentina, Italy and Latin America to name a few. But rather than concentrate on the meat of the sandwich, Street Breads is focusing on what's around it. "Our diamond is let's go to the baker who does the best job and buy that bread," Priola says. "It's not this mass-produced bread. It's something done in smaller quantities." The business originated in Priola's hometown of Lake Charles. There, he "worked out the kinks." But the Street Breads concept was meant for a...
You might find yourself sipping a rare ale or fine bourbon in a brand new bar off Corporate Boulevard this time next month. The Pelican House, a bar/restaurant specializing in high-end beers, whiskeys and bar food, is set to open in late April, co-owner and operating partner Garrett Morgan says.
If everything goes smoothly, Josh Priola could have his Baton Rouge Street Breads location open as early as Friday, April 5. But Priola says that's optimism talking. "We have to make sure we execute well," Priola says. "As of now, I'd say we're 99% there." The new sandwich shop will open up in the former Loft 3H space in the Perkins Road overpass area. Rather than concentrate on the meat of the sandwiches, Street Breads' focus is on what holds them together. "It's not this mass-produced bread," Priola says. "It's something done in smaller quantities." The business originated in Priola's hometown of Lake Charles. However, he feels the Street Breads concept was meant for a bigger market, and the decision to move was an easy one. "This idea was intended always to go to Baton Rouge," he says. "[Street Breads] was credible in terms of a bigger marker. We felt like we could explain it in a bigger way here, and it could become more relevant." —Matthew...
Raising Cane's founder and CEO Todd Graves says his company is committed to opening a downtown restaurant in the Richoux Building on Florida Boulevard and Third Street. As Daily Report previously reported, the chicken finger chain is negotiating with businessman Mike Crouch—who has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the 11,000-square-foot building from attorney Danny McGlynn—to open a restaurant in the 8,000-square-foot ground floor space. Though neither the sale of the building nor the lease agreement between Crouch and Cane's is finalized, Graves says he has long dreamed of opening a Cane's downtown. "I want to be downtown," he says, adding that it will be a challenge because of the business model fast-food restaurants follow. "We do a high volume on very tiny margins," he says. "So I'm just...
Baton Rouge La Madeleine locations are now offering signature items in a new catering menu. Among the items are the tomato basil soup, Strawberries Romanoff, sandwich trays, bistro boxes and more. The dishes serve eight to 10 per small order. Medium-sized menu options serving up to 20 are also available. For more information, visit lamadeleine.com/catering.
Chef Peter Sclafani and the Ruffino's team will head to New York City to prepare dishes at the prestigious James Beard House in April. Local patrons can be a part of the festivities in a special weekend trip package. The trip starts Friday, April 5, and features sightseeing, tickets to the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys, and a dinner menu that includes five hors d'oeuvres, four main course items and a dessert. Among the dishes are shrimp corn dogs, corn and crab shooters, grits and grillades, crab cheesecake, braised Mississippi rabbit and head-to-toe pork. Trip tickets cost $1,650 per person. To make reservations, call 753-3458.
The Melting Pot is now offering a customizable menu where items are broken down into separate portions for the diverse palates at your table. Assistant general manager Michael Kearley says the menu will also offer new feature cheeses, salads, chocolates and an a la carte selection that switches every couple of months. Also new is the "Fondue by You" where you can choose from an array of proteins, including sirloin, duck, chicken pot-stickers and more. You can even customize your experience online before you step foot in the restaurant. For more information, visit meltingpot.com.
With many excellent restaurants in town, folks may think twice about driving to nearby Sunshine for lunch or dinner. But those who have dined at Roberto's River Road Restaurant know that a few extra minutes of drive time off the beaten path is definitely worth the trip.
Barbara Auten, executive director of Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area, has quite a few favorite dishes she couldn't resist sharing with 225. In Baton Rouge, Auten loves the sea bass with mango salsa at Bonefish Grill. The mango salsa, she says, "brings out the flavor" of the bass, and "the service is always great." In Gonzales, Auten also digs the classic steak dinner at Sno's Seafood and Steakhouse Restaurant. "There's great atmosphere with a great steak," she says, "and [owner] Todd Sheets always makes you feel welcome."
Expressway Park sits in the shadow of the I-10/I-110 split, with the rumble of traffic echoing off the huge concrete pilings that separate the busy interstate above from the inner-city green space below. The South Baton Rouge Jaguars youth football team often practices on a field here, between the overpass bridges. At night, the interstate lighting high above isn't enough to illuminate the practice field, so parents of the young players use the headlights of their vehicles to keep evening practices going.
Two restaurants in the Southdowns Village Shopping Center on Perkins Road shut their doors for good last week. Landlord Donnie Jarreau says he's already received calls from restaurants interested in the space previously occupied by Romacelli. A sign on the Romacelli door reveals that the restaurant plans to reopen in a new location. For Stephanie Riegel's full story in Baton Rouge Business Report, click here.
The gluten-free food craze is becoming more than just a fad, with more brands and restaurants carrying gluten-free products by the day. Whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or you are just trying out a gluten-free diet, Find Me Gluten Free is an app that will help you easily locate restaurants, fast food, bars, cafes, grocery stores and more with gluten-free items. By using the app's search function, you can view menu items, get directions and see reviews from other users in your area. For more information, visit findmeglutenfree.com. This app is available for free download in the iTunes and Android app stores.
Open a little more than two weeks, Frankie Marcello's Restaurant is aiming to establish itself on consistency and made-from-scratch dishes. Owner Frank Marcello is a Baton Rouge native whose parents own The Bread Basket on Florida Boulevard. Marcello has done some franchising in Mandeville, but once he found the Perkins Road location, he made his return to Italian and Creole food with this new restaurant. At Frankie Marcello's (no relation to the former, now closed Enoteca Marcello), managing partner Paul Nelson says patrons can expect a mix of traditional Italian and Southern flavors.
From anise cookies to rabbit gumbo to championship crawfish étouffée, the range of foods found at Louisiana's spring festivals—this month alone—seems endless. For starters, there's this weekend's Sicilian Heritage Festival in Independence, where you'll find stuffed artichokes, muffulettas and the same sumptuous Italian cookies that drape St. Joseph altars. Next weekend, Amite holds its annual Oyster Festival; the same weekend, you can head to St. Bernard Parish for the Los Isleños Festival celebrated by descendants of Canary Islanders who immigrated to Louisiana in the 18th century. Also on March 16 are the Cassidy Park Wild Game and BBQ Cook-off in Bogalusa, and the Jumbo Gumbo Cook-off in Thibodaux.
Matherne's Supermarket on Highland Road is beloved among local oenophiles for its regular wine dinners, but next week's event features a new twist. Chef Regan Hounshell's multi-course meal will include seven recipes from River Road Recipes IV, Warm Welcomes, the next installment in the Junior League of Baton Rouge's celebrated cookbook series. Its first volume, published in 1959, is still required reading among local cooks and is loaded with emblematic regional eats like spinach Madeleine, oysters Rockefeller and crabmeat ravigote. It went on to become the nation's top-selling community cookbook.
Fashion Week in New Orleans wraps up this Saturday at several locations in the Central Business District. We asked a few people to pitch us their choice New Orleans restaurants and bars to visit between shows.
Daniel Lewis is the COO of Active Entertainment, a local motion picture distributing company that has been around for a little more than a decade. In between his busy schedule, Lewis gave 225 a peek into his favorite Baton Rouge dish: John's Favorite off the dinner menu at Maison Lacour, 11025 N. Harrells Ferry Rd. "The dish includes a filet, lump crabmeat, and garlic shrimp topped with homemade béarnaise sauce," Lewis says. "And everything is cooked to perfection."
Restaurant IPO will be flexing its culinary muscles with a tequila-infused menu and pairing dinner tonight at 7 p.m. Executive Chef Chris Wadsworth says the dinner will feature a five-course meal and specialty drinks, showing off several Patrón tequilas. "We'll be preparing something with everything from the $500 bottle to the $40 bottle," Wadsworth says.
Portobello's Grill, the Italian restaurant with two Baton Rouge locations, has announced an overhauled menu that brings the focus back to Italian favorites. The menu features more than a dozen new appetizers, sandwiches, main courses and cocktails, including an Osso Bucco Debris Po-Boy topped with melted provolone and homemade horseradish cream sauce.
Boudin is associated with the prairie parishes west of Baton Rouge, but mercifully, the Capital Region isn't without strong sources of traditional Cajun meats. Just off I-10 West in Port Allen (take the Highway 415 Lobdell exit), Bergeron's serves luscious boudin balls, smoked and steamed boudin, cracklin', crawfish pies, meat pies and all sorts of smoked sausages and stuffed meats.
So much is going on this week that I could easily devote several blog posts to, but I thought I'd try to keep it simple. Here's what you should know about that's happening in our smART city right now:
Plans are under way for a new beer and pizza joint at the site of the former Stella Boutique on Perkins Road, which closed earlier this year. The restaurant will be called Ice House Coal Fired Pizza and Pizzeria and, as its name implies, will feature a coal-fired oven with handmade pizzas and more than 40 brands of beer, according to New Orleans businessman Jack Rizzuto, who hopes to open the new establishment in 90-120 days. Before that can happen, Rizzuto must first renovate the 2,500-square-foot building, which is located in the popular Perkins Road overpass neighborhood. He also has to get permission from the Planning Commission to change the zoning at the site from C-1, or commercial, to CAB-1, which will allow him to serve alcohol on the premises. The Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the matter at its regular monthly meeting in April. "We think it's a great location," says Rizzuto, whose Ice House will be joining nearly a dozen other restaurants in a six-block strip.
Two restaurants in the Southdowns Village Shopping Center on Perkins Road shut their doors for good last week. But landlord Donnie Jarreau says there is no connection between the closures of Bushwood BBQ and Romacelli Bistro. The former, which opened in 2011, was subletting its 3,000-square-foot space from the previous tenant, Café Mediterranean. Jarreau says that space, which is along the main strip of the shopping center, is a challenging one for a restaurant because of its configuration. "The way the space is designed is long and narrow, and it's difficult for a restaurant," he says. "We are hoping to replace them with some sort of retail." As for Romacelli, Jarreau says its location in a 3,300-square-foot outparcel, previously occupied by the popular Enoteca Marcello's Wine Bar & Café, was not a factor in the restaurant's decision to close. "We've already had five calls from good restaurants interested in the space," he says. "We are going to be selective there." Romacelli's,...
Financially speaking, Visit Baton Rouge had a banner year in 2012, bringing in more occupancy tax dollars than it has in at least 15 years: $4.3 million.
Since 2006, the number of new restaurants in Baton Rouge has grown 10% to 15% a year, creating a competitive market for proprietors. As the piece of the pie gets smaller and the public's attention span shrinks, restaurateurs are finding new hooks to get and keep customers. Social media is part of the strategy, but alone, it's not enough. Restaurateurs say they're feeling the pressure to hold theme nights, partner with nonprofit organizations and create a family-friendly vibe to strengthen market presence.
In the Perkins Road Historic Merchants District, Magpie Cafe is known as an organic eatery and espresso bar serving coffee reminiscent of shops in Italy. The owners, James and Lina Jacobs, are usually on hand, offering suggestions to diners drawn to various lunch options. All food is crafted from seasonal ingredients from local farmers, dairies, and bread artisans. Feel free to linger with a friend over a cup of coffee. Magpie aims to be a warm, inviting neighborhood space. facebook.com/magpiecafe.brla3205 Perkins Road366-6885
Sometimes I inexplicably enter places with preconceived notions. At Restaurant IPO, I expected to find a slick, modern space filled with preened hipsters who were not only too cool for school but also too cool for you. What I discovered was a calming space with partially exposed brick walls, pictures of bucolic Louisiana scenes, rustic wood accents, old-fashioned filament light bulbs and handwritten specials on a chalkboard wall.
What's new this month: Latte e Miele has a new chef, Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets change their name, a Perkins Road muffaletta shop and two new seasonal brews from Abita.
We were halfway down River Road, the levee looming green on our right, when it seemed like the drugs were wearing off. Then I saw the writhing knot of giant bats rise up over the trees off to the left.
Local restaurateur Andy Blouin and his partners—whose growing portfolio of nightclubs and eateries includes Serrano's, Blend, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux's, as well as the Edible Events catering company—are planning to open a reception hall on the second floor of the former Latil Stationery building on Third Street downtown. Blouin and Sean Malone acquired the historic property in late 2011 for $815,000 and have been working on plans to redevelop the 12,000-square-foot space ever since. In the next few weeks, they plan to begin renovating the 1920s-era building. The 6,000-square-foot second floor will house the reception hall and Edible Events. The 6,000-square-foot ground floor is divided into two 3,000-square-foot spaces. Lease negotiations are in the final stages for one of the spaces with a tenant whom Blouin says intends to open a sports bar and restaurant on the increasingly bustling street. He declines to identify the tenant. The other ground floor space is available...
The fight over Alligator Bayou isn't over. Alligator Bayou Swamp Tours owner Frank Bonifay has filed formal notice that he intends to appeal a district judge's ruling against him. Attorneys declined to comment on the decision, saying briefs detailing their argument will be filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeal in a couple of weeks. Bonifay's 17-year-old ecotourism business shut down four years ago after Iberville and Ascension parishes decided to open the floodgate that prevented backwater from Bayou Manchac from entering Alligator Bayou, maintaining the water level. That action dropped the water level in Alligator Bayou, ending the prospect of tours. Bonifay's company sued, but 23rd Judicial District Judge Thomas Kliebert granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on Feb. 5. He concluded the parishes' decision to close the floodgate in December 2009 was based on a duty to regulate drainage, and the damage to Bonifay's business was not an "intentional act" or "abuse...
Eusebio Gongora II looks over the kitchen as chef partner of Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar knowing that he has the best of both worlds. His father, also Eusebio, is from Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas. His family came to the United States when he was a young boy. The first Eusebio fell in love with and married a proud Louisianan from the West Bank of New Orleans. With the Mexican heritage on his father's side and the French and Italian roots of Creole New Orleans on his mother's side, Gongora grew up with an incredible mixture of language, culture and food. But he did not discover his true passion for the kitchen until he was enrolled at LSU, pursuing a degree in biological sciences. While a pre-med student, he worked at area hospitals and clinics, but soon realized he couldn't see himself working in that setting for the rest of his days. He transitioned into the food world through a stint with LSU Dining as a display chef in the Magnolia Room...
The iconic Marriott hotel on Hilton Avenue near Interstate 10 is not the only local Marriott property that may soon change hands. The Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn, both on North Mall Drive near Siegen Lane, are under contract for an undisclosed price, according to the hotel's owner. "We are not at liberty to discuss the deal, but we are hoping it closes in the first quarter of the year," says John Dougherty, executive vice president for Olshan Hotel Management, a San Marcos, Fla.-based company that built the Courtyard and Residence motels in 1997 and 2000, respectively, and has managed them since. Though Dougherty would not identify the buyer, sources familiar with negotiations say the new owner is not local and intends to keep the Marriott flag on both properties, assuming the deal closes. Olshan's decision to sell is not based on the performance of the motels, both of which have averaged occupancy rates of between 75% and 80%, Dougherty says. "Rather, it's part of...