It’s been nearly 10 months since the owners of Bistro Byronz decided to close the doors at their 5412 Government St. location and transform part of the former White Start Market into the restaurant’s new Mid City digs. Now, the wait is nearly over. The new eatery, which presents the popular brand in a lively, modern setting, is set to open by the middle of next week, with Sunday brunch service beginning later, on Oct. 31.
A large, lush patio at the center of the Square 46 complex—positioned at the restaurant’s entrance—is the first element diners see.
“We didn’t want the patio to be an afterthought,” Byronz Restaurant Family CEO Emelie Alton says. “We wanted it to look like it had always been there.”
It does. The space, large enough to seat 40, has been designed to feel like a metropolitan sidewalk cafe, Alton says. It’s bordered by native plants, and is set off by gray and white pavers, umbrella-topped tables and a black iron trellis with crawling vines. Small trees and shrubbery placed throughout bring cozy warmth and year-round color. A separate, pub-style outdoor space to the right of the main entrance is outfitted with high top tables and a TV, providing a spot for patrons to enjoy a quick bite and a cocktail in the open air, watch the game or overlook the action on Government Street.
“Now we know outdoor seating will forever be an integral part of the business,” Alton says.
Fans of the eatery will spot familiar Bistro trappings, including glimpses of its longtime black and white color scheme, hexagonal and subway tiles and pressed tin ceiling tiles around the bar and entrance. But these details are presented in a design context that now includes splashes of sage green, a large, centrally positioned, zinc-plated bar, antique mirrors and touches of wood. The seating is open and spacious, and a separate private dining room is available for work functions and private gatherings. Cohesive and tidy, it’s hard to imagine the space’s past life as a food hall awash in counter service vendors.
Next week’s opening of the Bistro represents not the second, but third location for the family-run restaurant on Government Street. It began in the ’80s as a sandwich shop with a limited menu in small quarters across from Baton Rouge Magnet High School. A full-service, expanded version of the original concept opened in 2005 at 5412 Government St.
That was followed a decade later with a south Baton Rouge location at Willow Grove, as well as a sister concept, Pizza Byronz, also in Willow Grove.
The reimagined Mid City location has given Alton and her kitchen team, led by John Lundin, a chance to introduce a few new dishes.
The menu remains largely consistent—the best-selling Pot Roast Creole and Back-of-the-Stove Chicken aren’t going anywhere—but look for French onion soup, a bone-in pork chop glazed with pepper jelly, a lighter, more authentic Chicken Paillard, a barbecue shrimp po-boy, red bean and pork cassoulet, and chicken and biscuit dough-dumplings.
The bar will also feature new cocktails, including mules and French 75s mixed with different liquors. Those changes will also be available at Willow Grove, Alton says.