By Tara Bennett
LSU’s Northgate community is about to grab a taste of old school nostalgia come January, as Barcadia will open its newest location on Highland Road.
Located in the space that used to house Serranos Salsa Company, Barcadia will serve as a new venue for Baton Rouge nightlife by featuring a wide selection of burgers, craft beers and vintage arcade games.
“The Barcadia concept is all about Eat. Drink. Play.,” said Barcadia owner Stan Ripp. “We have an amazingly beautiful space, we have outstanding parking, badass games, awesome food via our executive chef and of course drinks. How the hell could you go wrong at the North Gates with all of that?”
Ripp has been planning the space in preparation for the opening, along with National Barcadia Concept Founder Billy Blatty, who works as his business partner. Barcadia is expected to open in January, but the exact date has not yet been determined.
“The regulatory nuances of Baton Rouge are far different than those of New Orleans,” said Blatty. “It took me years to become familiar with city inspectors, the idiosyncrasies of City Planning and City Hall in New Orleans. As the new kids on the block, we had to do a bit more leg-work to make up for our unfamiliarity and lack of experience in the market.”
“[We will open] as soon as humanly possible,” said Ripp. “We will definitely be open in January.”
According to Blatty, the very first Barcadia was slated to open in New Orleans in 2006. However, due to Hurricane Katrina, Blatty felt it was best to attempt this new concept in a different market. So, in 2007, the first Barcadia opened in Dallas Texas, and in 2008, Blatty begun shopping again for spaces in New Orleans.
“Not only was I shopping for a space, but for a marquee operator,” said Blatty. “It took me four years to land the perfect location in New Orleans, and to woo Stan into the company. I knew my strengths: vision, concept, branding, design and marketing. Stan’s strengths complimented my weaknesses and vise-versa, so we are a good fit.”
“We have an amazingly beautiful space, we have outstanding parking, badass games, awesome food via our executive chef and of course drinks. How the hell could you go wrong at the North Gates with all of that?”
Baton Rouge was next on the duo’s list as it was the more logical and organic place to open a second Louisiana location. Ripp jumped right on board, and with his connections in Baton Rouge, he was able to find a good space for the location.
“As an LSU grad and a former employee of The Varsity, I have a huge love for all things LSU,” said Ripp. “When we found out that we may be able to occupy Serrano’s it seemed like a perfect fit for what a Barcadia should be. We are extremely excited to be a part of the North Gates and the LSU family.”
The look of Barcadia will be intimate and cozy, but also has the possibility to be open and airy. The space will introduce reclaimed wood as a major design feature, along with a lower ceiling height and will incorporate specialty wallpaper to help it feel different from its sister location in New Orleans. Vintage pinup calendars from the 50’s will also adorn the location.
According to Ripp, there are two bars, both with different feels so that you can choose the one that fits you best. The LSU Tigers will have a distinct homage on one of the bars, while the other replicates the Barcadia Brand in New Orleans. As for drinks, there will be a selection of craft bottled and draft beers, specialty cocktails, and a full selection spirits.
There will be one new addition that will especially differ from the New Orleans location: the patio space.
“I always wish we had more [patio space] in New Orleans,” said Blatty. “But in the Baton Rouge location we have it all and then some.”
One of the highly anticipated additions for Barcadia is the return of Nick Hufft and his delectable burgers to the Capitol City area. Hufft’s start-up trailer-turned-food truck Curbside Burgers was beloved by college students and long-time Baton Rouge residents alike, but disappeared for a time when Ripp brought Hufft on to utilize his culinary expertise at the New Orleans Barcadia. Now, Hufft is back and ready to serve up the city once more, and will oversee the kitchens in both locations. Both menus will feature Hufft’s burgers, made of freshly ground beef, local produce, homemade condiments and praline bacon.
“I’m excited to get back to Baton Rouge fulltime,” said Hufft. “This is the city that has supported me from day one.”
Barcadia will have 25+ vintage arcade games and pinball machines upon its opening. The list of the games will be publically revealed on the restaurant’s Facebook located at facebook.com/BarcadiaBatonRouge. Prices for the games will range from .25 to $1.00. According to Ripp, Barcadia will also host game tournaments, though this will happen further down the road.
“We are going to start just by opening and seeing which games are the most popular,” said Ripp. “From there we will determine the best format and days to host the tournaments.”
Thus far, the response for Barcadia has been quite positive with their Facebook page receiving over 6,000 likes.
“The response has been so overwhelmingly positive,” said Blatty. “I feel our margin for error is extremely tight. Expectations are high, and I like that. It keeps us focused. It keeps us from taking anything for granted.”
“I am just overwhelmed with the amount of support and good wishes that we have received from the community,” said Ripp.