Art Café set to open

by Mary Tutwiler

With the upcoming grand opening celebration of the Acadiana Center for the Arts set for Nov. 4-13, more good news percolates from the AcA.

Along with contemporary music, the spoken word, opera, visual and performing arts, the AcA will be offering aspects of the culinary arts as well. Like lunch.

The AcA is teaming up with downtown restaurant French Press to create a museum café within the walls of the new art center. A food venue has always been part of the long-range vision, a decade in the works, which comes to fruition this fall.

The café will be located in the glassed-in area along Vermilion Street, with additional outdoor seating on the street. "It's really front and center," says AcA Executive Director Gerd Wuestemann. "Which integrates us with the street and breaks down some barriers folks might have about coming into an art space. It's a wonderful public space that people enter."

There will be WiFi in the lobby area and comfortable furniture, inviting diners to stay and surf.

"We're looking for the business community to come in and have a little breakfast or lunch, and the arts community to do the same, and build some connections there," says Wuestemann.

The French Press will lease the space from the AcA, staffing and operating the café. Cappuccino, espresso, lattes and café au lait along with pastries will be served in the morning. Soups, salad and sandwiches and light fare are offered at lunch. The café will be open during all evening events with a full bar, cocktail and wine menu, and elegant nibbles for pre and post theatre. Ideas down the road include "Thirsty Thursdays," a happy hour with music, as soon as the AcA receives its liquor license. "It's a great way for the community to gather, exchange ideas, see some art and stay for a performance," says Wuestemann.

Saturday or Sunday afternoons hold the potential for  zydeco brunch, with a bandstand and dance floor in the new theatre.

"We don't have a name yet," says Wuestemann. "I'm just calling it the AcA Café right now. That has a nice ring."