Even as they navigate continuing labor and supply chain issues, several Baton Rouge restaurant operators are planning openings this fall.
Original concepts and refreshed locations will roll out over the next few weeks and months, heralding the continuing evolution of the Capital City’s dining scene.
Here are some to watch:
• Lotus Lounge—Elaborately blended tiki cocktails are front and center in the forthcoming Lotus Lounge inside Soji: Modern Asian. Renovations started earlier this week on converting Soji’s entrance and bar area into the lounge, intended to feel like a separate concept with its own hours and menu. Owner Chase Lyons says the menu will feature six iconic and six original tiki cocktails and a chalkboard lineup of small plates executed by Soji chef Thien Nguyen.
• Bistro Byronz—Fans of Bistro Byronz’s original location in Mid City have been anticipating its return to the neighborhood in part of the former White Star Market. The redesigned spot should open in early October, Byronz Restaurant Family CEO Emelie Alton says.
• The Iron Fork Kjun Eatery and Market—Hoping for an October opening, The Iron Fork plans to serve a full menu of Southern fare along with daily lunch specials. The market half of the concept will sell prepared meals, fresh and frozen Cajun meats and pork and chicken cracklins.
• Proverbial Wine Bistro—City Group Hospitality’s new wine-focused bistro will feature themed grazing boards for lunch, dinner and brunch; shareable appetizers; flatbreads; fresh fish; and steaks. In keeping with the name, diners who finish a bottle can write their own proverb on a wine cork and drop it into a glass display. The Long Farm spot, once occupied by Wildwood Pizza, will open in mid-October, says operating partner Stephen Hightower.
• Gail’s Fine Ice Cream—According to Gail’s creator Nick Hufft of Hufft Marchand Hospitality, the artisan ice creamery should open by the end of the year, but Hufft says he’s not rushing it.
• Juban’s Restaurant—Juban’s deep fan base was wistful when the restaurant closed temporarily during the pandemic, but now they can look forward to a late 2021 or early 2022 opening with a refreshed design and a new-meets-old menu. Operating partner Making Raving Fans Hospitality Group, led by Peter Sclafani, Kiva Guidroz and Michael Boudreaux, recently announced their hiring of chef Chris Motto to bring fresh energy to the Juban’s reboot.
• Spoke N Hub—Look for this City Group Hospitality family-friendly concept to open in late November, Hightower says. The restaurant in the former Bistro Byronz space will feature a Southern menu, lots of patio seating and a separate speakeasy with its own entrance.