Year in review: 2021 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.

Know of a local restaurant opening we missed? Tell us at [email protected].

Photo courtesy Leola’s Cafe and Coffee House

Leola’s Cafe and Coffee House

1857 Government St.

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. leolascafeandcoffeehouse.com

Photo by Ariana Allison

Rêve Coffee Lab

8211 Village Plaza Court, Building 4

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. Photo by Ariana Allison

Rio Tacos & Tequila

333 Third St.

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.. riotacosandtequila.com

SoLou. Photo by Haskell Whittington


7246 Perkins Road

“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. eatsolou.com

Southern Cofe downtown. Photo by Collin Richie

Southern Cofé

501 Main St.

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

8201 Village Plaza Court, #1C

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 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. bitesandboards.com

Cheba Hut. Photo by Ariana Allison

Cheba Hut

411 Ben Hur Road, Suite A

The city’s newest sub shop is an ode to the munchies. At the cannabis-themed Cheba Hut, the decor and menu alike are playfully themed around marijuana culture, from the “Jamaican Red” buffalo chicken sub to the mural featuring a puffy-eyed tiger. Locals Meredith and Tommy Wiggins opened the Colorado-born restaurant Aug. 9 just south of LSU after dreaming about bringing the concept here for nearly two decades. chebahut.com/locations/batonrouge

Basel’s Market. Photo by ​​Sean Gasser

Basel’s Market

5435 Highland Road

Kalyn Lindsly transformed her former food truck into a charming cottage cafe near LSU. It debuted Aug. 20, dotted with antiques, greenery, a cozy fireplace and outdoor seating. Try the avocado toast for breakfast, an herb-garnished sandwich for lunch, or shop the market for groceries and gifts. Find it on Instagram at

Proverbial Wine Bistro. Photo by Ariana Allison

Proverbial Wine Bistro

9659 Antioch Road, #10

City Group Hospitality’s latest offering, which opened in October, is all about pairings. At the Long Farm Village eatery, food boards are themed around dinner, dessert and brunch, and food is matched with complementary wines, beers and cocktails. The interior is warm and earthy, with leather chairs, green walls and a covered patio. There’s even an interactive cork wall, encouraging diners to drop a cork scribbled with their own inspirational quote. Find it on Instagram at @proverbialbistro

Iron Fork owners Tory Cummings and Hershall Bergeron. Photo by Ariana Allison

The Iron Fork Kjun Eatery & Market

7520 Perkins Road, Suite 100

This restaurant, bar and meat market opened Oct. 11, specializing in soulful lunch specials and hearty prepared meals—think comfort-food staples like red beans and rice, chicken stew and meatloaf. The Beau De Chene Shopping Center spot has housed eight different concepts in the past 11 years, but owners Tory and Jacqueline Cummings and Hershall Bergeron hope to have found the right formula for success. Find it on Facebook

Eloise Market and Cakery

320 Lee Drive, Suite D

Part bakery-cafe, part gift boutique, and part cake-decorating class party spot, Eloise Market and Cakery does it all. Recent LSU grad M.J. Schmidt opened the shop in late November on Lee Drive in the space formerly occupied by ThaiHey Thai Food. Come for the menu of pizza, salads, macarons, cookies and custom cakes; stay for the colorful interior decked out with work by local artists. Find it on Facebook

More new arrivals

Abu Omar Halal, a Mediterranean-style chain from Texas, opened a food truck in Baton Rouge in April. Courtesy Abu Omar Halal

Mobile moments

The food truck scene is more fun than ever, with 2021 arrivals like Sno Juice, serving snoball creations in all-organic flavors around Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, and Abu Omar Halal, a Houston-born halal food truck dishing out shawarma, kabobs and falafel on Coursey Boulevard. City Group Hospitality launched its City Taco brand as a self-described “ghost kitchen” inside City Slice. And Brandon Thomsen and Jeff Herman are trying to make a name for Louisiana barbecue with their Oak and Smoke pop-up, seen at local breweries.

Stewed oxtails with rice and cabbage at Royal Taste of Jamaica. Photo by Collin Richie

New locations

Existing concepts saw plenty of growth and location shuffles, too, with City Pork opening a new location at Highland Park Marketplace, Bistro Byronz moving its Mid City location to the former White Star Market building, Royal Taste of Jamaica moving into the former Christina’s spot downtown, and Blue Store Chicken opening another location on North Boulevard near Baton Rouge Community College.

Hive Pizza. Photo by Ariana Allison

Pizza places

Quick-fired pizza shops are on the rise, from the bumblebee-themed The Hive on Siegen Lane to Pizza Artista inside Rouzan, where the pies are stacked with Louisiana ingredients.

Yard Milkshake Bar. Photo by Ariana Allison

Show-stopping desserts

The Yard Milkshake Bar hails from Alabama, but its new local spot serves plenty of Instagrammable milkshakes themed around Baton Rouge and LSU. At the Capital City location of Crumbl Cookies, more than 120 elaborately decorated cookie flavors rotate weekly.

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This article was originally published in the December 2021 issue of 225 magazine.