Mary Tutwiler

Balbeisi conquers downtown

by Mary Tutwiler

Nidal Balbeisi is attempting to conquer the world the way all great tacticians do, through its belly. First he seduces you at Zeus, his Mid-Eastern flagship restaurant, with delectable baba ghanoush. Then he makes his halumi sandwiches as quick and convenient as the ubiquitous burger at his Zeus-to-go drive thru. Next, he brainwashes you with mind-bending margaritas at his Mexican cantina, Agave. Now, he’s planning the coup de gras with his newest culinary adventure, Italian fusion, at Trynd Café and Night Club. The location? Last week, Balbeisi bought Stan’s laid back lunch and high octane disco club, located in the former Masonic Temple on Vermilion Street.

That acquisition marks the fourth restaurant location for Balbeisi in Lafayette’s dynamic downtown. Zeus on Jefferson has been franchised. But Agave, across from Parc Sans Souci, and now Trynd both occupy important anchor locations in the heart of the entertainment district. Balbeisi also owns another building, currently boarded up, next door to Sadie’s on Jefferson. He plans to move the Stan’s concept — burgers, plate lunches, salads and my favorite, a fried chicken club, along with the name, onto Jefferson. The Stan’s menu will continue at the Vermilion location through Dec. 31, and the club will host a New Year’s Eve bash before shutting down for renovations.