The building formerly known as Trynd will open its doors yet again as Century Irish Gastropub, featuring a simple menu filled with traditional Irish food with a Cajun flair.
The Vermilion Street building’s owner, local restaurateur Nidal Balbeisi, who also owns and operates the neighboring Agave Cantina in Downtown Lafayette along with the area’s numerous Zeus Cafés, says Century will hold a soft opening this week with the pub being fully open for lunch and dinner by Monday.
“We’ve been tasting the food a lot at Agave to our customers, and they were loving it,” says Balbeisi. “We’re tweaking the menu as we go. We’ve been working on this project for almost a month and a half by now, so we’ve finally got it where we want it.”
According to Balbeisi, the restaurant will open with a limited menu for the coming Mardi Gras parades and the immense foot traffic that comes with them this weekend.
"We are going to be open either this Thursday or Monday, but definitely for the parades we are going to be open,” he says. “We are going to be open this Saturday. You might be walking in to a limited menu this Saturday because of the volume, but definitely next week we’re are going to be open for lunch.”
Balbeisi says the concept for an Irish gastropub came about because none are available in the Lafayette area.
“My chef comes from that background,” says Balbeisi. “I’ve been looking at things that he did and I think it’s a bit more laid back and the food is popular. We have mixed a little bit of Cajun in, too. We have to have a little bit of Acadiana in it.”
The one-page menu will favor a more straightforward selection with Irish delicacies like shepherd's pie, along with chef salads and chicken pot pie among others. Balbeisi says the atmosphere will also be more casual than the building’s previous concepts.
“It’s more laid back than before,” says Balbeisi. “People would view it as upscale, and you have to be really upscale to attend and people Downtown want to be more laid back. It’s going to be more casual, but as always we’re going to focus on it being a little bit above casual. I think it’s going to work much better.”
Over the years, the building–a former Masonic temple–has seen several reinventions after Balbeisi originally purchased the property from Stanley Lerille at the end of 2010 and then transformed Stan’s Downtown from a nightclub into the ambitious Italian fusion culinary adventure that was Trynd Café and Nightclub. After Trynd failed to take off and closed its doors in 2012, Balbeisi leased the top floor of the building to Justin Menard and Joe Speyrer who then established Bolt Nightclub, a predominately gay nightclub, while keeping the bottom floor available for private functions under the name Soirée.