First Look: Habaneros, a stylish and spicy Mexican experience, set to open in Perkins Rowe

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to remove the opening date. Habaneros informed 225 that it no longer has an announced opening date.

The Baton Rouge restaurant scene is about to get a little spicier. Habaneros, a trendy Mexico City-inspired restaurant, is set to open soon in Perkins Rowe. Husband-and-wife team Omar and Dulce Lugo originally launched the fast-growing brand in Covington in 2014, aiming to emphasize the spice their native Mexican culture is known for.  

It all began because we always wanted to go somewhere we didn’t have around us. We wanted to have good food. We went to Mexican restaurants, and it was the same thing. So, we were like, ‘Man, I think we can really create something (different). I think it would be a good fit for the town,” Omar says.

Multiple locations later—from Metairie to Slidell—Habaneros has finally brought its “different” concept to the Capital City. Walking up to the entrance, diners will be met with a greenery wall and pink neon sign reading: “We ended up @ Habs!” Inside, the restaurant is bathed in earthy, neutral colors like sage greens and blush pinks. Round, rattan pendant lights dangle from the ceiling and dried floral arrangements adorn the walls. Plush velvet booths are shrouded by gold-chain curtains. Swank banquettes and dimly lit, strikingly moody bathrooms are prime backdrops for a flawless GNO—or at least your next Instagram post. A plant-filled patio with overhead fans overlooks the walkable Perkins Rowe, beckoning shoppers from the sidewalks.

At the bar, a tiger figure is the centerpiece of a mirrored wall, a nod to Baton Rouge. Be sure to look up—slithering, hand-placed stones in the shape of a snake decorate the ceiling. Bartenders will shake up hand-crafted cocktails, like the Pork Decision, a tropical beverage served in a pink terracotta glass shaped like a piglet.

The menu is an ode to street food flavors found in urban destinations like Mexico City, with salsas, sauces, marinades and rubs all made from scratch. The signature dish is the showy Asado: a small grill brought to the table, with ribeye, chicken, sausage, corn, cactus salad and more all steaming over a bed of charcoal. Appetizers go beyond chips and guac. Think: Octopus Tacos, Flauta Flights and Esquite Bombs (corn and cheese beignets).

Entrees range from Pastor Bowls to more than 20 taco selections with a heap of toppings. Watch for Baton Rouge-specific items, like build-your-own tacos with toppings like slow-braised beef cheek doused in mole.

Get a taste of Mexico City while sipping a tropical beverage out of a unique terracotta glass in the shape of a pigglet wearing a lei. Enjoy this sweet beverage and more under a slew of

Expect entertainment, too. The other Louisiana locations of Habaneros are known for presentations of flaming dancers and live music.  

“We’re going to do our own shows, which we’ve been doing in Metairie,” Omar says, adding that the fire-themed shows will run the first week of every month starting June 1.

The restaurant plans to introduce happy hour specials and Saturday and Sunday brunch menus during it first month. Other specials will be introduced by season. The owners will gauge what the Baton Rouge market gravitates toward as they introduce specialty items.

“At different locations, they prefer alcohol specials while other locations prefer food specials. So, we’re really going to determine what we will offer after a month and what would do well here,” Dulce says.

The owners say they often met Baton Rougeans eager for a Habaneros closer to home that wouldn’t require a long drive to Metairie or the Northshore. They wanted to push past their comfort zone—and felt the Capital Region was the right place to do it.

“If we can do it here in Metairie, why not in Baton Rouge?” Omar says. “We must branch out and see what people want to experience.” 

Habaneros is located inside Perkins Rowe at Building 100, Suite P. It will operate for brunch, lunch and dinner, open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

For more information, follow Habaneros Perkins Rowe on Instagram.