Baton Rouge is establishing itself as a food destination. Every day, more and more food news is cooking in the area. A weekly feature, “Leftovers” is a roundup of the latest on the local food and restaurant scene.
In little time, chef Troy Deano is upping the ante over at Blend, a wine bar and restaurant at 304 Laurel St. in downtown Baton Rouge.
Once or twice a week, he’ll change the menus, finding inspiration in what produce he can get his hands on or even a sign on the street.
“I use so many things as inspiration,” he said. “I’ll see a sign for ‘deer’ on the road, and I’ll think, ‘Oh, I want venison on the menu.’ Everything is at play.”
About four months into the new job, he’s added another strong talent to his kitchen — chef Aimee Tortorich, who previously worked for Jay Ducote’s Bite and Booze and as the cook for Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house at LSU.
The 32-year-old said she is excited for the possibilities at Blend.
“We are both creative in our craft and have very similar food styles,” Tortorich said. “We both come from traditional Southern roots, but like to put a modern spin on the food, aiming to open the minds of the guests.”
Though her first day on the job was just this week, Deano’s ready to see what they create in the kitchen.
“She wants to learn a lot, and I can teach her,” he said. “She’s got a creative side that I can’t wait to see. I want to help it grow and mature.”
For more information on Blend, call (225) 757-5645 or visit blendbr.com.
Beausoleil owners take over Christina’s
The Baton Rouge food scene was dealt a blow earlier this year when Christina Bannister, the founder of Christina’s Restaurant, died in January at the age of 60.
Though the family continued to operated the restaurant at 320 St. Charles St., it was announced Wednesday that owners of Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar purchased the popular eatery.
“We are pleased and proud that the Bannister family is entrusting the Beausoleil team with the future of Christina’s and look forward to honoring that legacy and serving the people of Baton Rouge for years to come,” said Jeff Conaway, managing partner of Beausoleil.
Conaway said the plan is to keep all of the current Christina’s employees and maintain the restaurant’s consistency. The menu will still focus on the good stuff, including plate lunches like fried chicken.
Some updates may be made to the restaurant’s interior and the hours may be extended. Christina’s closes at 3 p.m. on weekdays and is closed Sundays, but Conaway said a Sunday brunch may be added, along with a happy hour on weekdays.
For more information, call (225) 336-9512 or visit christinasbr.com.
Rotolo’s franchisers open Mooyah’s Burgers
Chad Calongne and Ryan Brach, the co-owners of Beach Pizza Management, were doing well with their five Rotolo’s Pizzeria locations between Livingston and Ascension parishes.
However, with little room to grow the pizza brand in those markets, the duo looked to a new popular trend — the better burger joint.
Calongne and Brach opened their first Mooyah’s Burgers location at 2706 S. Cabela’s Parkway on Monday. They have a license for another one, but Calongne said he’s unsure where it will go.
“We tasted the burgers about a year and a half ago, and it was a fabulous product with great customer service,” Calongne said. “We liked everything about it.”
The new Mooyah’s is a little bit larger than your average site, at 3,000 square feet with capacity for 95 patrons, but with the same menu, which includes burgers, shakes and fries. Business hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., daily.
Another part of the allure of the burger chain was its popularity on Siegen Lane, which is No. 1 in the nation for the company.
“We hope to be around that number as well,” Calongne said. “It’s a healthy competition between all locations. We all want to push each other.”
For more information, visit mooyah.com or call (225) 647-8604.
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter @MatthewSigur. Timothy Boone contributed to this report.