2021’s biggest restaurant openings in Baton Rouge

A spot that coined the term “brunch-ish. A stylish restaurant that serves shrimp corn dogs; cotton candy; and s’mores over mini fireplaces. And coffee shops galore.

This year gifted Baton Rougeans with plenty of new culinary arrivals and industry trends. Here’s a look back: 

Leola’s Cafe and Coffee House

Corey and Leann Ringe opened this Mid City “brunch-ish” and “lunch-ish” hangout Jan. 9. Those who frequented the former Yvette Marie’s cafe in this spot at Circa 1857 will appreciate the new space’s nostalgic mismatched chairs and original brick and wood details. But a menu loaded with items like the “Bro-Rito,” “Basic B Breakfast,” and seasonal pancake flights keep things feeling youthful and fresh. 

Rêve Coffee Lab

Mixology isn’t just for cocktails. The baristas at Rêve prove it. Locals first met the Lafayette brand at its former White Star Market coffee and tea stand. But its new Village at Willow Grove location, which opened Jan. 18, has really given the shop a chance to grow. Its drinks are some of the craftiest in town, from the color-morphing “Mood Tea” to the Reese’s-inspired “Cloudy with a Chance of Peanuts” cold brew. The cafe also serves brunch daily, all in a space styled with earthy ceramic tiles and leather accents. Find it on Instagram at @revecoffeelab.btr. 

Rio Tacos & Tequila

The colorful Mexican-inspired restaurant by restaurateur Chad Hughes opened Jan. 15, beckoning downtown passersby with its vibrant, tile-covered front patio. Inside, the space is just as stylish, splashed with floor-to-ceiling murals by Marc Fresh and wood, brick and rattan accents. On the menu: street corn and tacos; empanadas; fajitas; quesadillas; and margaritas and palomas. 

SoLou 

“There’s no place like south Louisiana,” declares a bright neon sign on the SoLou patio. That’s just what restaurateurs Peter Sclafani, Kiva Guidroz and Michael Boudreaux set out to showcase at SoLou. Modern Louisiana cuisine (See: the shrimp corn dogs; an alligator hot dog; and boudin quesadillas) is served against a backdrop of custom-designed wallpaper printed with Louisiana birds and magnolia blossoms. The March 15 arrival reimagined the space formerly occupied by The Rum House. 

Southern Cofé

Southern Cofe is currently in the process of upgrading its original Scotlandville location, and that’s not the only big move it made this year. Owner Horatio Isadore opened his bright downtown location March 1 inside Main Street Market. The cafe serves smoothies, juices, coffee and tea, as well as healthy food like soups and sandwiches. It was a landmark move, too—as Isadore explained to 225 after the opening: “I can’t recall that a business from north Baton Rouge expanded to downtown. You always see it the other way around.” Find it on Instagram at @southerncofe.

Bites and Boards

Robyn Nicosia Parker’s popular cheese and charcuterie brand leveled up to its first brick-and-mortar shop at The Village at Willow Grove, which held a grand opening June 12. Inside, visitors can for shop cheese, charcuterie, graze-to-go boxes and lots of other gourmet goodies. They can also order custom boards—or even take a cheeseboard class. 

See the full list of openings from 225 magazine. Keep on top of new restaurants and events in 2022 by subscribing to the free 225 Daily e-newsletter.