The Merchant near Perkins Road overpass, others set to open in Baton Rouge _lowres

Photo by Matthew Sigur -- The Merchant, a new restaurant co-owned by Lon Marchand and Nick Hufft, will open soon in Baton Rouge.

Co-owners Lon Marchand and Nick Hufft are opening a new bar and restaurant, The Merchant, on March 25 in the former location of Zee Zee Gardens at 2904 Perkins Road. Dinner and bar service will be up and running, with lunch service expected to start March 28.

Marchand, 30, said the name is a rough translation of his last name, and The Merchant is also a nod to the cluster of businesses in the nearby Perkins Historic Merchant’s District.

Marchand said patrons can expect 12 beer taps, with brews from New Belgium, Parish, Founders, Stone and NOLA Brewing available in the beginning.

“We will keep rotators on so the draft menu will never look the same,” he said. “On that same note, we don’t want the beer menu to be too overwhelming — just a nice, solid, well-curated list of draft, bottles and cans.”

Hufft said the menu will be simple and clean. The Merchant will serve lunch Monday through Friday, with a small menu of 10 items or less. Dinner will feature “a very sharable menu,” Hufft explained.

“For lunch, we’re going to get you in and out in under 30 minutes,” he said. “For dinner, we’ll have 5 cold snacks, 10 hot snacks and a couple entrées.”

“The building’s history has played into the overall concept. For many generations, people came here to enjoy a good pint and have some great conversation. We’re going to try and keep that tradition going around.”

While Hufft said he wants to be in the kitchen as much as possible, The Merchant has Jonathan Breaux spearheading the day-to-day operations. Breaux previously worked at the Louisiana Country Club, was sous chef at the Camelot Club, and executive chef at The Bluffs in St. Francisville.

At The Merchant, there will be space for 12 patrons at the bar, an additional 50 patrons inside and another 40 in the beer garden/patio space outside.

“We want to serve good food and drinks in a fun space,” Marchand said. “I think it will explain itself once people get in here.”

Also opening soon:

Taza Mediterranean Grill will open at 4965 Government St. within the next two weeks.

The restaurant is in a strip next door to Smoothie King on the corner of Government Street and North Foster Drive, in the former Roly Poly and Craw Daddy’s.

Taza’s menu includes gyro and chicken shawarma plates and sandwiches, as well as specialty plates such as beef stroganoff, kofta meatballs, a vegetable plate and fish kabobs.

Down the street near the north gates of LSU, Everything Philly will host its grand opening on April 2.

The event starts at 11 a.m. with a ribbon cutting with Mayor Kip Holden and former LSU basketball player Tyrus Thomas. Patrons can enjoy free samples of Philly Ice and enter prize giveaways.

Everything Philly is located at 3260 Highland Road, Suite 6. The restaurant will feature Philly-style cheesesteak sandwiches and pizza. For more information, visit

Walk-On’s also will open a new location soon.

The popular Baton Rouge-based chain is set to open its Denham Springs location on Monday. The new Walk-On’s is located at 27010 Crossing Circle at Juban Crossing, with seating for 250 patrons, and is approximately 7,500 square feet.

Other Walk-On’s locations are under construction in Zachary and Covington, and Lubbock and Tyler, Texas.

Red Stick Farmers Market adds three seasonal locations

The seasonal markets are already up and running. The new locations include: the main library at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon; LSU Health Baton Rouge at 5439 Airline Highway on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon; and ExxonMobil YMCA at 7717 Howell Blvd. on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Year-round markets also will continue on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon in downtown Baton Rouge at Fifth and Main streets.

Free parking is available at each site. Cash, credit, debit and Louisiana Purchase cards are accepted at all markets.

For more information, visit

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.