As Mardi Gras rolls into full swing this weekend, the food news is coming in like a parade float — slowly but surely.
Most of this week’s stories revolve around a local establishment making a slight change or two.
You could call the changes happening at Serop’s Express on Jefferson Highway more than slight. Heck, it’s a full-on remodeling.
The fast food version of the popular local Baton Rouge chain, which has seven locations in town, will be closed until May. Owner Vasken Kaltakdjian said remodeling and demolition work has begun on the location at 712 Jefferson Highway.
Once open, the improved Serop’s Express will feature a drive-thru and have an additional 400 square feet.
The location is taking over the once-neighboring businesses, including Chef Don Bergeron’s Mid City Market and the Capital Heights Veterinary Clinic. Bergeron’s business will reopen later this year in the old Pat’s Cajun Seafood & Steak at 8200 Jefferson Highway.
Kaltakdjian started Serop’s in 1979 in Mid City, and he doesn’t have his eyes on any more upcoming locations. At least, for now.
“We’re working on improving the business we have,” he said. “If I did open another, I wouldn’t look outside Baton Rouge. This city has been good to me.”
It’ll be a brief inconvenience for customers who regularly go to the location. But if you’re looking for a special meal around town, there are more than a few coming up.
The venerable local chef Matt Reed is teaming up with Alexander’s Highland Market on Thursday for the “Better Together” six-course wine dinner.
Reed, who can be seen preparing and teaching meals at Acadian House Kitchen & Bath Design in his Sip and Sauté series, will pair courses with wines of Rombauer Vineyards.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, one course is a take on steak and lobster, and features honey-jalapeño glazed New York strip with homemade fettuccine, and butter-poached lobster with a Romano sherry cream sauce.
Be still, my heart.
Seating is limited, and tickets are $75 per person. For more information, call (225) 615-7800.
If you can’t make Reed’s dinner, make plans for later this month when chef Tom Ramsey comes to town with his Stäge pop-up dinner.
Ramsey and Doug Hosford of Fat Cow Burgers will prepare “modern comfort food” at Simple Joe Café at 3057 Government St., on Saturday, Feb. 20. The event starts with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. The menu will feature a grilled oyster amuse-bouche, Creole bouillabaisse and thin-fried catfish, among other dishes.
Tickets are $100 per person and available at stagebr-comfortfood.eventbrite.com.
If the Saturday night event sells out, Ramsey said he’ll add another night, Friday, Feb. 19.
Ramsey is from Jackson, Mississippi. He started doing the pop-up dinners full time just a few months ago, he said.
“This is so much more enjoyable,” he said. “These people are here to eat my food. I’m doing what I love — cooking and traveling.”
Ramsey said he has known Hosford and the Baton Rouge food scene for some time.
“Baton Rouge has come a long way,” Ramsey said. “Doug Hosford has a background in fine dining, but he owns this great burger place. It’s going to be a fun night.”
Also coming along is Prairieville. There, Tien Le has opened his second location of Geisha Sushi with a Flair at 17097 Airline Highway, Suite 104.
Le is the chef/co-owner of the restaurant, which will host its grand opening on Wednesday.
Le opened the first location in Denham Springs about six years ago.
After a little market research and building his business, he said he liked where the Prairieville demographic was going.
“There was a need for a good restaurant there, especially a sushi restaurant,” Le said.
The restaurant will feature the same menu as the Denham Springs location, as well as some specialty items like foie gras and Wagyu beef. For more information, call (225) 271-4911.
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.