Dead Poet owners plan new restaurant in former Almaza Cafe space

With plans to open a new restaurant concept, the owners of Dead Poet: Beer, Cocktails and Music have bought the East Boyd Plaza space that until recently was the longtime home of Almaza Cafe.

The family-owned Greek and Lebanese cafe—whose most recent owner is listed as Waheed G. Ali—was one of the plaza’s original tenants, says landlord Damon Levy, meaning it operated there for some 20 years. Its last day of business was Dec. 31.

Levy doesn’t think the temporary vacancy will hurt business for the LSU area strip center, noting construction on the new concept is supposed to start before the end of February. But the space’s new owners are still in the early brainstorming stage and don’t yet have a name or menu.

“It will be a standalone concept that will serve as a complement to Dead Poet and the surrounding area,” says Dead Poet co-owner Remi de Matteo, who, along with equal partners Rusty White and Chuck Brechtel, represented themselves on the deal that closed Dec. 1. “Everything is on the table.”

de Matteo could not provide financial details on the transaction prior to this morning’s deadline.

All three partners have prior experience with the local bar and restaurant scene. White co-owns The Bulldog and Velvet Cactus. Brechtel, another co-owner of The Bulldog, also co-owns Vessel. Meanwhile, de Matteo owns whiskey and cocktail bar Hayride Scandal.

They opened Dead Poet in early December after completing a $500,000 renovation of the 4,250-square-foot space formerly occupied by The Bandit.

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