Baton Rouge is establishing itself as a food destination. Every day, more and more food news is cooking in the area. A new weekly feature to Red, “Leftovers” is a roundup of the latest on the local food and restaurant scene.

Downtown whiskey bar opens

The River Room, a downtown lounge with a selection of around 50 bourbons and 30 scotches, opened last weekend. The bar is located in the former space of Red Star Bar at 222 Laurel St.

Ivar’s owner Chad Hughes and former Uncle Earl’s and The Happy Note owner Brad Watts are the owners of The River Room. Watts credited the downtown buzz as a reason for wanting to put a new bar there.

The River Room has many differences from its predecessor. Watts said the building went through nearly three months’ worth of renovations, including a new exterior paint job, wood flooring inside and new bathrooms.

The bar has a menu of signature and classic cocktails as well as a record player with around 200 vinyls for customers to peruse. The bar will not have live music.

Business hours are 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 5 p.m.-midnight Sunday. For more information, visit or call (225) 400-9627.

Now open: Willie’s on Coursey

Willie’s Restaurant and Bar has opened its new location. The restaurant, which was started six years ago on Cloverland Avenue, closed earlier this year to move into a bigger space at 11260 Coursey Blvd. So far in its two-week soft opening, Willie’s has served dinner only. Monday, the restaurant will expand its hours to serve lunch.

Willie’s menu highlights local ingredients and seafood dishes and also features daily specials, burgers, sandwiches and po-boys. Though the new location features an expanded bar atmosphere and drink menu, cook/co-owner Emily Hazelwood said regulars will feel right at home.

“We found a niche at the old location, and we’re sticking with it,” Hazelwood said. “We like to say the new location is a more grown-up version of our old restaurant.”

For more information, visit or call (225) 372-2526.

New olive oil tasting room set for Highland Road

If you’re a Baton Rougean who can’t get enough olive oil, you’ll be in luck next month.

Season to Taste is an olive oil tasting room set to open in September in the Highland Center shopping center.

The business will feature more than 50 olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. Ginger and Chris Musso are the owners. For more information, visit

Frankie Marcello’s on Perkins closes

Frankie Marcello’s is the latest restaurant to close in the space at 7520 Perkins Road.

Frankie Marcello’s was open for three years. Now, the restaurant will reopen in October as Lasseigne’s American Grill. The owners, Philip Lasseigne and Dave and Karen Hayden, will make renovations and update the menu to include Louisiana-style entrees and healthier dishes.

Blue Bell is (almost) back; no date yet for La. phase

It’s been a long, hot summer, especially without our beloved Blue Bell. But the wait is almost over.

According to reports from the creamery’s website, Blue Bell will begin distributing ice cream in parts of Texas and Alabama on Aug. 31. South Louisiana is targeted in the fourth phase of a five-part plan to roll out the company’s products.

No date has been set to begin the phase that includes Louisiana.

Blue Bell halted production in April after its products were linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states. For more information, visit

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.