Briquette to open in Warehouse District_lowres

Chef Robert Vasquez

Mandeville's Opal Basil closed last month, but owners Lindsey Jo Vasquez and husband and chef Robert Vasquez plan to open two restaurants in the Warehouse District by mid-summer.

  Briquette will open at 701 S. Peters St. and will spotlight contemporary coastal cuisine.

  "The big focus with Briquette is highlighting Louisiana seafood," Lindsey says. "We'll have a giant grill and all different types of seafood and fish."

  The restaurant will include a long bar and seating for approximately 180 people. The space is part of The Refinery building, named for the Rodd Bros. Molasses Refinery, which occupied the structure when it was built in the 1800s. Lindsey says there will be a few dishes and drinks that pay homage to the building's history, including a molasses Manhattan. Briquette will serve lunch and dinner.

  In a smaller space at 719 S. Peters St., the couple will open an offshoot of Opal Basil. Lindsey says it will be a casual neighborhood cafe that will serve breakfast, lunch and small plates, including salads, sandwiches and flatbreads.

  Robert will run the kitchens at both spots. He is a veteran chef who started working in fine dining in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has cooked all over the world, including stints in Spain, Singapore, Bermuda and San Diego, California.

  Opal Basil likely will open a few weeks after Briquette.