Varsity Theater and The Chimes restaurant

The Chimes restaurant and Varsity Theater on Highland Road in Baton Rouge

A second-floor outdoor bar and dining area will be added to The Chimes, a move that will cause the popular LSU-area restaurant to close for three weeks during July for construction.

Marianne Hood, one of the owners of The Chimes, said the move will add 50 seats to the restaurant on Highland Road just outside the North Gates of LSU. Work is set to begin next month.

Hood said more details about the expansion, including renderings, will be released as the project becomes more concrete. 

According to a building permit issued by the city-parish last week, the expansion will add more than 6,100 square feet of space to The Chimes. The addition will include outdoor and indoor dining space. The restaurant is currently 14,500 square feet. The permit pegged the price of construction at just under $1.5 million. 

Beside the original Highland location, which opened in 1983, The Chimes has a restaurant on Coursey Boulevard in Baton Rouge and in Covington. The group also owns Parrain's restaurant on Perkins Road. 

The Chimes is a favorite spot for LSU students, faculty and staff, with a menu centered around "Louisiana comfort food" — seafood, hamburgers, gumbo and red beans — and a large array of beers.

The Chimes set a model for being an affordably priced bar and grill that a number of local restaurants emulated, Clarke Cadzow, who owns Highland Coffees and is historian of the North Gates area, said in 2015.

“They are so consistent in their service and everything is affordably priced,” he said. “They really captured the college town atmosphere.”

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.