Leslie Turk

Bella Figura leaving City Club

by Leslie Turk

It's certainly no secret that Jack Ainsworth wasn't happy at the City Club, as he's been scouting new locations for some months now. And the City Club's owners are likely equally dissatisfied with the restaurateur's inability to justify the major investment they made to set up Bella Figura two years ago. Though it initially drew large crowds, the Italian eatery's business has dwindled in the past year.

Ainsworth relocated from Kaliste Saloom Road (the site now occupied by the successful Marcello's Wine Market Cafe) in March 2007 after a major overhaul of the City Club's dining facilities. For the first time in three decades, the club opened its doors to the general public.

That, too, is changing. City Club co-owner Robert Daigle says Ainsworth is moving out May 30 to pave the way for the facility to revert to a members-only restaurant. National restaurant experts are working with two local consultants, Chef Pat Mould and James Lawrence (who once managed Charley G's), to help define the concept. Daigle says it will be a casual dining restaurant and bar.

On April 15, former KATC-TV3 reporter Louis David's new Web site noted that Ainsworth had applied for a permit to renovate 4,200 square feet of space in the Shops at Martial on Kaliste Saloom Road. Construction is valued at $79,200, according to Lafayette Consolidated Government's records. Ainsworth plans to take over the space that originally housed the second location of Hub City Diner, which closed in December.