The owners of Phil’s Oyster Bar are taking over the empty Table Kitchen & Bar space in the Southdowns Village Shopping Center to open a new restaurant there by the end of the year.
Jordan Piazza, who owns Phil’s with his brother, Anthony, said he wants to bring “something different” to the Baton Rouge restaurant market. Piazza said he plans to visit cities such as Austin and Dallas to look at different restaurant concepts.
“We want to find something that’s cool and would work in this shopping center,” he said, “something that Baton Rouge hasn’t seen or doesn’t have much of.”
Phil’s Oyster Bar, a popular Baton Rouge restaurant for more than 50 years, is set to reopen…
Piazza praised The Overpass Merchant, a gastropub that opened in the old Zee Zee Gardens building last year, and Gouter, a small-plate restaurant on Government Street that recently closed, as being the sorts of concepts that are unique to the market. Plans are also in the works to use the patio in the building and have a nightlife component to the restaurant.
Table closed in February after owner Scott Wilson decided to return to the construction industry. The farm-to-table restaurant had been open since 2015.
For years, the space that Table occupied had been the home of the Southdowns Lounge, a neighborhood bar known for its frozen Purple Haze cocktails and its annual Halloween party. Since the lounge closed in 2008, four different restaurants have cycled through the building: Table, Portico, Romacelli Bistro and Enoteca Marcello’s wine bar.
Piazza said he’s not concerned about the turnover in the space. He said Enoteca Marcello was doing “great business” but the owner decided to sell the restaurant after Romacelli made an offer. He said that Wilson did well with Table, until the day-to-day grind of running a restaurant became overwhelming. Wilson told The Advocate at the time of Table’s closing that “the restaurant business was fun, but it takes a toll on you."
“We believe in this shopping center and we see the traffic that The Bulldog brings in,” he said. That’s why the family jumped on leasing the space once it became available. “Maybe it came a little sooner than we wanted it to, but you have to take an opportunity when it comes,” Piazza said.
By leasing a space across a parking lot from Phil’s, Piazza said he and his brother will be able to oversee two restaurants without having to leave the shopping center. “It’s great synergy,” he said.