Rock Paper Taco moving into former Shrimp Basket site on Perkins

Rock Paper Taco plans to open a second brick-and-mortar location in the former Shrimp Basket space on Perkins Road.

The 4,160-square-foot building—located in the Perkins Palm development near Staring Lane—has been vacant since Shrimp Basket permanently closed in mid-2019. Before that, McAlister’s Deli occupied the space.

Local restaurateur Josh Duke, who launched Rock Paper Taco from a food truck in 2018, says he’s been eyeing the location, which sits in the same development as his Olive or Twist restaurant, for several years. 

At the time McAlister’s closed three years ago, Duke was in the midst of relocating his Painting & Pinot business in order to expand Olive or Twist. However, had he known the space would be available, he says he simply would’ve moved Olive or Twist there without forcing out Painting & Pinot.

“Everything’s worked out [for Olive or Twist], but ever since I missed that opportunity, I think I’ve had a want for that location,” says Duke, who signed a five-year lease on the space. “I was never going to put Rock Paper Taco there, but I love the area, the kitchen is big enough, and it has its own parking lot.”

The new spot is slated to begin operations in early June, following the opening of another brick-and-mortar location for the concept on West Chimes Street in “a few weeks.” 

Because the Perkins Palm space is larger than the West Chimes suite, Duke says the Perkins restaurant will feature an expanded bar with an emphasis on margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails.The space will also include kiosks, with customers largely ordering food on their own, though there will also be employees on deck to assist them and take orders.

The restaurant, which will be open for breakfast and lunch, specializes in creative, American-style tacos, such as chicken-and-waffle tacos. It will mark the latest tenant to join Perkins Palm, after the recent opening of SoLou, a south Louisiana-inspired concept by Peter Sclafani, Kiva Guidroz and Michael Boudreaux. 

Duke says he’s looking to expand Rock Paper Taco further toward the end of year, with a to-be-determined third location in south Baton Rouge, close to Prairieville.