Jeff Herman, owner of the newly merged Tiger Deauxnuts and Barbecue, is not a manager that locks the door behind him to his private office all day. In fact, his office doesn’t have any doors at all. When I walked into the restaurant on Government Street, Herman had his laptop and papers set up at one of the restaurant’s tables—just close enough to ask a customer nearby if he was enjoying his orange mascarpone doughnut.
Herman swears he’s not the one who usually chooses the daily doughnut flavors. But once he heard a customer mention the orange mascarpone flavor—one of his favorites—he knew he had to keep it on the menu for the recent merger of Tiger Deaux-nuts and Smokin Aces BBQ.
“It’s just the right combination that you wouldn’t expect,” he says of the flavor.
The same could be said for the combination of Herman’s two Government Street businesses, which officially reopened together July 14 under the former Tiger Deaux-nuts roof at 5162 Government St.
At the reimagined restaurant, customers can expect doughnuts served all day, 6 a.m.-8 p.m., along with breakfast sandwiches and burritos, and barbecue staples like pulled pork, pulled chicken and brisket served with pit beans, potato salad, mac and cheese and more. Look for a glazed-doughnut-pulled-pork-mac-and-cheese sandwich in the future.
Tiger Deaux-nuts was Herman’s first business endeavor. It began as a craving he had for doughnuts while sitting on the couch in his Tiger Manor apartment back in 2010. That turned into a weekend pop-up project in a commissary kitchen he leased across town. His only source of publicity back then was word of mouth, he says.
“We kind of built this grassroots, cool, you-got-to-know-where-to-go doughnut-shop situation,” Herman says. “We did all these really cool flavors that changed for Baton Rouge what doughnuts were.”
Tiger Deaux-nuts eventually moved into that brick-and-mortar location in Mid City, which underwent major renovations in 2015 and is now home to the new fusion.
Herman acquired Smokin Aces BBQ further down Government Street three years ago with the hope of transforming the city’s barbecue scene, too. Having tasted barbecue all across the country, Herman says he has seen how in some states, barbecue truly is a way of life. He describes waiting in line for five hours for barbecue while visiting popular spots in places like Tennessee and Texas.
“You go in the morning, you set up the tailgate chairs, and you bring a cooler of beer or drink a cup of coffee,” Herman says. “People go for bachelor parties. They make it an experience—and that just isn’t being done in Baton Rouge.”
So with the launch of Tiger Deauxnuts and Barbecue, Herman wants to turn eating doughnuts and barbecue into a “next-level crafted experience.”
But some of the changes won’t be visible at first glance. “Instead of adding things, we’ve paid closer attention to where we were sourcing stuff that we get,” Herman says, referring to his decision to prioritize quality ingredients in the merger process rather than simply adding items to the menu.
While Herman acknowledges the occasional customer has been disappointed that a past favorite isn’t on the new menu, he says most of the feedback has been flattering, especially when it comes to the brisket. “Honestly, we’ve had some words that I can’t say used to describe our brisket,” Herman says, before quickly adding, “In a good way.”