Renovations to longtime downtown Opelousas restaurant Palace Cafe are underway as it has a new owner and operator. 

The building, 135 W. Landry St., is under a long-term lease through St. Landry Clerk of Court Charles Jagneaux, who asked restaurateur Michael Fontenot, who previously saved downtown mainstay Frank's Bar and turned it into Frank's Po'boys, to run the diner.

"The judges, attorneys and I would have lunch there every day," Jagneaux said. "Almost everyone has memories of the Palace Cafe. It's a real joy on my part and a challenge to restore something like that hopefully to its proper place."

Renovations should be complete in the next few weeks. Operations of the restaurant will be up to Fontenot, Jagneaux said, but he has asked Fontenot to include some of the staples of the old Palace Cafe, including the fried chicken salad. 

Tina Doucas, granddaughter of the restaurant's founder, sold the restaurant in December 2013 after her husband died of cancer. It remained open for five years but struggled to keep its customer base.

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Email Dan Boudreaux at dboudreaux@theadvocate.com.