Vaughn using Raising Cane’s experience to direct Lava Cantina _lowres

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- Ian Vaughn, left, and his father, Steve, sit in the Perkins Rowe location of Lava Cantina. Vaughn has taken over three downtown restaurants -- Lucys Retired Sufers Bars, The Roux House and Schlittz & Giggles -- and plans to remodel two of the properties. Lucys will become Lava Cantina Downtown and The Roux House will be Repeal 33, a gastropub.

The downtown Baton Rouge restaurant scene is about to get a significant makeover, after the co-founder of Lava Cantina took over control of Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar, The Roux House and Schlittz & Giggles and announced plans to remodel two of the properties.

Ian Vaughn said he worked out a deal last week to take over the three properties from Walk-On’s co-founder Jack Warner, who owned the businesses. Terms were not disclosed.

“I had wanted to get downtown for quite some time,” said Vaughn, a former Raising Cane’s executive who opened the rock 'n' roll themed Mexican restaurant in Perkins Rowe in 2013. “It’s a great hot spot. We had an opportunity to expand our businesses and when Perkins Rowe is slow, they’re pretty busy downtown.”

Lucy’s, at 151 Third St., closed on Saturday. Work will begin Tuesday on rebranding the restaurant as Lava Cantina Downtown Baton Rouge.

The menu is still being developed, as part of an overall ongoing effort to improve food quality at the Lava Cantina in Perkins Rowe and the Lava Cantina under construction near Dallas. Vaughn said the plan is to serve “Creole food with a Mexican twist” and there will be live acoustic music.

It will take about five weeks to remodel and rebrand Lava Cantina Downtown. At the same time, The Roux House will also undergo changes.

Plans are to rebrand the business as Repeal 33, a reference to Dec. 5, 1933, the date that Prohibition ended. The restaurant will even host an annual cinco de mayo style party on Dec. 5.

Repeal will be a gastropub, selling gourmet hamburgers, slow smoked meats, alcoholic milkshakes and high-end cocktails. The business will also sell frozen treats from Vaughn’s Rock N’ Pops business in Perkins Rowe. “We’re tying this all together, these chef-driven meals with delicious sweet treats and cocktails,” Vaughn said.

It will take about two months to shift the Roux House to Repeal 33. Along with adding food, a retractable roof will be installed over the back patio.

Schlittz & Giggles at 301 Third Street will undergo some changes, to make the pizza shop like new. “They’ve done a great job with the brand and it has great elements,” Vaughn said. “We just want to build on the overall level of operations.” Down the line, Vaughn said he may evaluate making more changes to Schlittz & Giggles.

The cost of all of the work at the three restaurants is in the $700,000 range. “Most of the work is cosmetic in nature,” Vaughn said. MAPP Construction is the contractor.

Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District, said Vaughn’s plans are “very exciting” and fit in with the changing dynamics of Third Street. The upscale Watermark Hotel is set to open in September at the corner of Third and Convention streets. Across from the hotel, The Onyx Residences apartment building is also set to open in September. And construction is set to begin soon on the Courtyard by Marriott at Third and Florida, kitty-corner to Schlittz & Giggles.

“They’re taking over some of the mainstays on Third Street, and we’re looking forward to working with him,” he said.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.