Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Robyn Nicosia Parker’s name.
Even as restaurants battle a multitude of issues in the COVID-19 era, a flurry of fresh culinary concepts opened this summer in Baton Rouge. Expect even more openings this fall—but in the meantime, keep your tastebuds busy with these new bites.
In June, “Cheeseboard Lady” Robyn Nicosia Parker held the grand opening of a brick-and-mortar location for her popular cheeseboard gift business, Bites and Boards. The Willow Grove spot includes many of the products Parker arranges on her boards, including cheeses, charcuterie and chocolate, along with boards themselves. The intimate retail space also includes a sprawling island where Parker teaches interactive classes on her trademarked cheeseboard method.
The idea behind Baton Rouge-based startup Fork ‘N Spoon has been to offer healthier, prepared meals to make life easier. As of this summer, the concept now also includes dining in at its Brightside Drive space. The concept serves “enlightened comfort food” made with fresh and, often, locally sourced ingredients. Orders are placed online from a menu that changes weekly and can be picked up on Sunday afternoons. Or, order breakfast and lunch for pickup or dine-in.
The latest jewel in the crown of City Group Hospitality is a new location for its flagship concept, City Pork. Taking over the spot once occupied by Adrian’s, the eatery has been retooled to reflect the brand’s groovy, pork-centric vibe. The menu, awash in artisan barbecue and entrees that flirt with global influences, incorporates the restaurant’s most popular dishes from its other locations. The restaurant also features an oyster bar and extensive cocktail menu.
No, you won’t find those kinds of edibles here, despite a brand that embraces the relaxed trappings of cannabis culture. This locally owned franchise of the Colorado sandwich brand opened in early August. It is the longtime dream of owners Tommy and Meredith Wiggins, who visited a Fort Collins, Colorado, location 20 years ago. Fresh subs are made with Cheba Hut’s proprietary French bread and all manner of meats and veggies. Quench your cottonmouth with fountain drinks, Kool-Aid or something stronger from the bar.
Kalyn Lindsly’s popular food truck of the same name has transitioned to a whimsical and charming permanent location on Highland Road near Lee Drive. Lindsly, whose family owns Calvin’s Bocage Market, serves gourmet sandwiches, including her signature pimento cheese, along with Calvin’s chicken salad and other sandwich types in a cottagecore-inspired setting that also includes gifts.
The Yard’s outrageous milkshakes are equal parts engineering marvel and sweet tooth nirvana. Louisiana’s first location of the Gulf Shores-based concept opened in July, just in time to wow heat-weary Baton Rougeans with cold desserts whose ingredient lists won’t quit. Something as straightforward-sounding as an Old School Banana Split milkshake features strawberry and banana pudding ice cream blended and served in a jar that has, itself, been rolled in chocolate and dipped in peanuts. Balanced on top is a gravity-defying mountain of whipped cream, peanuts, cherries, and, somehow, bananas.
Fresh-baked cookies are the ultimate in homey goodness, especially in a time rife with stress and change. The new Baton Rouge location of Crumbl Cookies includes a menu of more than 120 cookie flavors that rotate weekly, including Muddy Buddy, Biscoff Lava, Coconut Lime, Rocky Road, S’Mores, Pumpkin Pie and others. Baked daily, the meticulously decorated cookies are intentionally served either warm or cool.