On an October evening, string lights glow over the Bumsteers rooftop. It’s a warm night, but fans whirling over the tables keep the temperature just cool enough. The buzzing fans and the ’90s rock playing over the speakers almost drown out the sounds of the nearby interstate traffic.
Patrons are practically eye level with the semis roaring by on the Perkins Road 1-10 overpass—and with the birds perched in the neighborhood’s treetops.
This is Baton Rouge from a different perspective. There seems to be something to look at in every direction: houses, apartment complexes, cars rolling by on Perkins Road, residents walking dogs. Tonight is the perfect picture of our everyday lives in Louisiana’s capital city. But imagine this view during a blow-out event like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, when dozens of green floats and hundreds of spectators fill the street below.
Right now, though, guests seem less concerned with what’s happening beyond the balcony and more interested in the restaurant’s other entertainment. One couple is locked in a foosball match. A small group of friends is seated near giant Jenga blocks. Other guests flip through the menu, a mix of sports bar picks like burgers, tacos and wings, plus some trendy options like noodle salads, street corn and ahi tuna tartare.
It’s hard to believe this space was once a fast-food restaurant—previously housing Crispy Catch—and a dry cleaners and gas station before that. The building was reimagined by restaurateurs Chad Hughes and Eric Carnegie. Both owners have their names attached to other restaurants around town, such as Kalurah Street Grill, Cecelia Creole Bistro and Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar.
But with Bumsteers, they aimed to bring something different to Baton Rouge.
We’d already seen the city from above at spots like the Shaw Center’s Tsunami restaurant and L’Auberge Casino & Hotel’s rooftop pool bar. But Bumsteers broke ground as the city’s first freestanding rooftop restaurant. And with it came not just a new way to see our skyline—but a fresh point of view on what a restaurant can look like. The sky is quite literally the limit.
Opened April 2019
3109 Perkins Road
THAT MENU, THO
Points to Bumsteers for its sense of humor. The restaurant isn’t afraid of pop culture references—or to poke fun at some of its trendier items. We’re here for it. These menu items had us LOLing:
• Brussels Sprouts AF side
• Jam Bam Thank You Ma’am burger
• Becky Spice frozen pumpkin spice cocktail
• In Da Club turkey sandwich
THE CHIMES GETS AN UPGRADE
We’d love to see more rooftop restaurants in Baton Rouge—but they don’t necessarily have to be new openings. Just look at The Chimes. This summer, the restaurant added a rooftop terrace to its longstanding Highland Road location.
Seated at the rooftop’s wooden booths and tables, visitors can order food and drinks from The Chimes’ regular menu. Like Bumsteers, there are games: life-size Jenga, ping pong and cornhole.
But the view is a different story. To one direction is the busy North Gates cluster of bars and restaurants, marked by The Varsity Theatre’s beaming gold and purple neon sign. In the other direction are views of LSU’s campus, backpack-clad students weaving through the majestic oak trees.
The Chimes has been around since the early ’80s. It’s the very definition of a Baton Rouge classic. It’s a consistent top vote receiver in our annual Best of 225 Awards, and it’s the first place many of us take out-of-towners.
But the crowds on The Chimes’ rooftop this fall prove that even the best things have room to grow. thechimes.com
Click here to head back to our Hot New Restaurants cover story from the December 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.