The old Chelsea's will become a new restaurant that will feature a local "rock star" chef and a cocktail bar with live music.
Kalurah Street Grill will open in late fall in the former Chelsea's Cafe space at 2857 Perkins Road. The restaurant is named after the street that runs between the building and the Bet-R Neighborhood Market.
Chef Kelley McCann will be in the kitchen with the title of executive chef. McCann announced in mid-July he would leave Galatoire's Bistro at the end of August.
"[McCann] was the first person we talked to, and he was the only person we talked to," Watts said. "He is a rock star."
McCann said the menu will focus on seasonal, local produce. Though no dishes have been finalized, McCann did hint at what patrons could expect.
"I envision the menu showing great emphasis on seasonal produce, Louisiana seafood and game, and beef and pork," McCann said. "I've always enjoyed light, crisp and bright flavors in my cuisine, and I would like to showcase that."
Watts and Hughes signed in April the lease on the building and have just hired a construction company. The construction process will take 10-12 weeks.
Design-wise, Kalurah Street Grill will have one grand entrance. The cocktail bar with live music will be on the left-hand side of the building. The kitchen will remain in the middle, and the restaurant is on the right.
The cocktail bar may operate under a different name, Watts and Hughes said. The idea with the bar is to open around 4 p.m. a few nights a week and have live jazz music.
"We want there to be a nice, contemporary, hip atmosphere on that [cocktail bar] side," Watts said. "We like the idea of closing the kitchen on one side, then you go to the other side, and you're in a different place where you can get a good cocktail or glass of wine."
Watts opened The River Room a year ago in downtown Baton Rouge in the former location of Red Star. He knows a thing or two about residents reacting to change when it comes to a past favorite.
"This won't be Chelsea's," Watts said. "We're not going to go be Chelsea's. But it won't be Galatoire's, either. We want this place to look and feel different. We don't want you to feel like you're in Baton Rouge."
Watts said the major goal is to bring a great chef-driven restaurant to the market.
"We're just trying to do something different," he said. "There's a popular sentiment in Baton Rouge. We always talk about wanting to be something else, or how Austin or New Orleans has these great things. Our thought is 'Why not do it now?' Let's do some of those great things in Baton Rouge."