The idea of a sports bar is familiar enough. Soon though, Lakeview will have a new sports restaurant.
That’s how restaurateur Danny Millan describes Azul, which is now taking shape at 117 W. Harrison Ave.
He is building Azul from the ground up on this well-placed corner lot along Pontchartrain Boulevard. It is scheduled to open by the end of July.
Millan also runs the upscale/casual Creole restaurant Cava along the opposite end of Harrison Avenue.
Azul will be much different. He describes it as a “sports restaurant” because the bar and dining room will have many TVs to show all the games but the focus will be on family-friendly dining. He thinks the concept will appeal to nearby residents who want a destination for causal outings that’s still close to home.
“It will be nice, but casual, cozy, a warm place,” Millan said. “I think people want more places where they can go out but still be in their neighborhood.”
The menu is still taking shape but Millan rattled off some highlights including a Cuban sandwich, burgers cooked over charcoal, po-boys and traditional bar snacks, like chicken wings, prepared with more made-in-house touches.
The bar will have an extensive draft beer system, and Millan plans to keep an accessible wine-by-the-glass list, with glasses topping out at about $7.
The sports restaurant niche has been growing in recent years. Some local examples are Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar, an expanding regional chain, and Manning's, which is run by Harrah's. Azul will be independent, and it will be Millan's second venture in the neighborhood.
Millan has worked in the hospitality business most of his life. Through his career he's run some of the more elegant dining rooms around town, serving as general manager for Brennan’s on Royal Street (in its previous incarnation), Restaurant August and Le Foret. He went into business for himself in 2014 by opening Cava, where the focus is on modern Creole flavors and local seafood.
Azul will be a single-story restaurant with its own parking lot. Inside, Millan plans to deck the dining room and bar with sports memorabilia from local schools and pro franchises and from teams and athletes around the country.
While the new restaurant’s build-out still has a long way to go, Millan is keeping an important summer deadline in mind. By the time the NFL preseason kicks off, he wants Azul to be rolling.
117 W. Harrison Ave.
Projected to open mid-summer 2018
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