While the average diner might not realize it, a new restaurant hitting the Baton Rouge scene is often the brainchild of an existing restaurateur: someone who understands what local diners crave and what new dishes they’d be willing to try. Scratch the surface of the regional dining market, and you’ll find that many of the spots you love are run by the same owners or groups.
About a year after opening Creole restaurant Eliza on Jefferson Highway in 2017, chef Russell Davis and his wife, Sally, launched a second concept: specialty po-boy shop Jed’s Local in Mid City. The two restaurants enable Davis to reinterpret familiar dishes from the Cajun and Creole culinary tableau in distinct ways.
“It’s easier, in some ways, to have two restaurants—and harder in some ways,” Davis says. “It’s almost like having young children, where it’s twice as much work in the beginning, but you get to share things, like products and systems, between them. You also get to serve different demographics.”
Here, we take a look at the local spots that share branches on the same restaurant family tree.
ACROSS THE CITY
Though the original City Pork location off Perkins Road closed in April—partially due to concerns about overpass construction—the City Pork brand is going strong. The Brasserie & Bar on Jefferson Highway doles out elevated Louisiana dishes. The City Pork Catering location in Mid City offers a lunch menu of favorites. City Slice slings hand-tossed pizzas at LSU’s North Gates. And the newest venture, the classy Rouj Creole at Perkins Rowe, traces Creole cuisine’s roots to Caribbean and West African traditions.
Known for Creole-focused fine dining, Mansurs on the Boulevard opened in 1989 in the former Village Square Shopping Center, moving to its current home on Corporate Boulevard in 2003. Owners Justin McDonald and Timothy Kringlie launched sister restaurant French Market Bistro in 1996. Both establishments boast healthy wine lists and occasion-worthy fare.
YOU SAY BURRITO; I SAY BURRATA
Restaurateur Ozzie Fernandez hit it big with Izzo’s Illegal Burrito, which now includes seven locations locally and nine others statewide. From there, he introduced Baton Rouge to made-to-order personal pies with five locations of Lit Pizza (he’s planning 20 more statewide). In 2018, he opened the classy restaurant Rocca Pizzeria in Mid City, with artisan pizzas and seasonal cocktails.
BIG FLAVORS SERVED HERE
Restaurateur and caterer Wayne Stabiler restored The Village for Baton Rougeans with its modern iteration, The Little Village, in downtown and on Airline Highway. Stabiler has since opened two locations of his steakhouse concept, Stab’s, and the modern-yet-familiar Italian restaurant Palermo near Bocage.
THE NEXT BIG THING
The partners behind these spots have their fingers in a lot of trendy pies. Chad Hughes and Eric Carnegie recently launched Bumsteers, the casual eatery with rooftop seating on Perkins Road. Hughes and Brad Watts are behind The River Room, Bengal Tap Room and Cecelia Creole Bistro downtown, as well as Kalurah Street Grill. Carnegie, general manager of Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, is also a partner in Bengal Tap Room and Cecelia. In late July, Hughes got an ownership stake in Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s and Register Bar. Clearly, this restaurant family tree has quite a few branches.
SO VERY FRENCH
What started as a small sandwich shop across from Baton Rouge Magnet High School by Mike Kantrow and family has morphed into three Capital Region locations of French-inspired Bistro Byronz. In 2017, it added a sister establishment, Flambée Café at Willow Grove, serving Alsatian open-faced sandwiches and flatbreads.
BOILED CRAWFISH MEETS THE ISLANDS
First launched in 1988, Sammy’s has grown to three locations in the Baton Rouge area, where it serves signature pub grub and wildly popular seasonal boiled crawfish. In 2018, the restaurant group launched Creole Cabana on Burbank Drive, fusing Creole and Caribbean cuisines in a beachy atmosphere.
HALLELUJAH AND HOT BISCUITS
A lot has changed since the Creole fine dining spot Juban’s Restaurant opened in Acadian Village in 1983, including the Juban Family Restaurant Group’s acquisition of inventive Southern restaurant Beausoleil near Bocage, and the treasured downtown diner, Christina’s. In 2017, the group launched Adrian’s, a casual seafood restaurant by Alexander’s Highland Market, featuring some of the most popular Juban’s dishes.
In a region where Mediterranean fare is much loved, Albasha is arguably the best-known brand, with five restaurants in greater Baton Rouge and five more throughout southeast Louisiana. In 2017, co-founder Naser Dyak opened Los Reyes on Coursey Boulevard, a Tex-Mex spot where you can find culinary Easter eggs like hummus picante, a Mediterranean quesadilla and gyros tacos.
What other restaurant groups are responsible for your fave restaurants? Tell us in the comments below.
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.