Mary Tutwiler

Jolie's Bistro joining restaurant row on Pinhook

by Mary Tutwiler

Pinhook road is heating up into Lafayette’s fine dining ground zero. Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro will join restaurant meccas Cafe Vermilionville, Blue Dog, Zeus, Ruth’s Chris and Catahoula’s Steakhouse in the oak-shaded stretch between University and the Bayou Vermilion bridge. Steve Santillo, managing partner at Blue Dog was making way for painters this morning at 507 Pinhook, a building that has housed bars, restaurants and clubs in its past, most notably the original location of Ruth’s Chris. “This building is brilliant,” he says. “It’s got a huge kitchen, plaster walls, a pressed tin ceiling and will have a mahogany and white marble bar, with a George Rodrigues painting of Jolie Blonde hanging over it.”

The menu Santillo envisions is very different from the Cajun-based dishes at Blue Dog. Jolie’s Bistro will serve old school New Orleans cooking - haute Creole, jazzed up with an infusion of nouvelle ideas. The bistro will have Crescent City classics like barbecued shrimp, oysters Rockefeller and Bienville and turtle soup on the menu. The nouvelle element is up to the restaurant’s still to-be-named chef. “We’re looking for the perfect chef,” says Santillo. He, his wife Suzi, and partners Jacques and Andre Rodrigues, hope to have the restaurant open by the end of October, but say they aren’t rushing. Quality is more important than meeting an arbitrary deadline, says Santillo. “We won’t open until we’re ready.”

(pictured: George Rodrigues has lent his iconic painting for commercial purposes such as  Jolie Blonde Beer, briefly brewed in Breaux Bridge, and now for Jolie's Louisiana Bistro.)