The Half Shell Oyster Bar and Grill (3101 Esplanade Ave.) was set to open in Faubourg St. John as early as last weekend, owner Mark Johari Lawes said.

  The Half Shell will specialize in oysters, including char-broiled bivalves topped with Lawes' original sauce, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, Lawes said.

  "I was just planning on doing lunch and dinner, but neighbors told me there's no good breakfast place around here," Lawes said. "So I decided I would do a full-service breakfast."

  The lunch menu will include roast beef po-boys, burgers and shrimp, and dinner will add lobster tails, steak, chicken and vegetarian options.

  Lawes operated Cafe Negril (606 Frenchmen St., 504-944-4744) from 2001 to 2002. He's also owned several other local businesses, including nightclubs Patio 79 in Fountainebleau and Club Kisses in Gentilly.

  Lawes says he saw an opportunity while driving on Esplanade Avenue.

  "I passed and saw an empty building," he says. "It looked like it needed to have a tenant, and I had a few dollars, so I said, 'You know what, maybe I should just open a restaurant.'"

  Lawes says he plans to apply for a liquor license for Half Shell.