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Baton Rouge Proud: Bistro Byronz to be featured on Food Network

Bistro Byronz is gearing up to celebrate its 10th anniversary and received an early birthday gift by being featured on the Food Network.

The local restaurant chain taped with host Michael Symon and the Burgers, Brew & Que production team in December. This is the second Baton Rouge restaurant to be featured on the show, with City Pork being featured on the season premiere.

With the restaurant’s episode coming up on Friday, Feb. 26, CEO Emelie Kantrow Alton said she feels both “humbled and honored” by being featured on the Food Network.

“It has been great,” said Alton. “In the next month we’ll be celebrating our 10 years of being open here in Mid-City, and it was really a nice time to be recognized nationally at the same time that is happening.”

According to Alton, the Food Network looks for restaurants that show interesting food with interesting stories. While the restaurant gears up for its TV debut, Alton reflected on Bistro Byronz’s beginnings.

“While we are not all that different from where we began years ago on Government Street, we have grown up and evolved just as our community and our neighborhoods have transformed and evolved,” said Alton.

Bistro Byronz started many years ago as a simple mom-and-pop sandwich shop called Byronz, which was created in the early ’80s. In 2005, it was taken to the next level as a new restaurant in the form of a true bistro where the community could gather day and night to relax, share conversation and enjoy good food and drink at reasonable prices. The Bistro Byronz model is a Southern version of the quaint cafés in Paris, with the sophistication and casual flare of New York City bistros, incorporating the flavors, culture and lagniappe of Louisiana.

“From that day on, we have prided ourselves in serving deliciously simple, bistro-inspired dishes done the Louisiana way — comfortable yet special, casual yet elegant, and a bit curious and undefined,” said Alton. “We wanted the environment to feel like a departure from the norm but still true to the neighborhood it inhabited.”

Today, Bistro Byronz sees four locations and is continually growing.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see people enjoying what we set out to create a decade ago,” said Alton. “Our vision was to create a true neighborhood bistro that people came to over and over again for great food, company, and a sense of family.”

Taping with Symon and his 15-member production crew went easily for the “Decadent Regional Dishes” episode. While it was a long day, it was entertaining and was an experience that Alton will never forget as Symon interacted with her staff and patrons.

“We would have been happy to be on any Food Network show, but Michael and this show are a great match for who and what we are,” said Alton. “Michael Symon is very personable, warm and comical…He wanted to learn about the people and the story. That was very meaningful to [the staff]. He was phenomenal to work with.”

And which dishes will be featured during the episode? Symon sampled the Croque Madame Burger, a specialty turkey burger topped with homemade bacon Mornay sauce, ham, spinach, tomato and a poached egg. This burger is frequently featured during the weekly Burger Bontemps events. He also tried the Poisson Acadiana, a regular menu item which is made up of thin-cut fried catfish served over rice and topped with crawfish étouffée.

With this being the second Baton Rouge restaurant to be featured on the show, it gives audiences insight into the Louisiana culinary industry beyond what can be found in New Orleans.

“I think it’s been great for the state as a whole,” said Alton. “Everyone’s taking their own touch and make it a little bit different. There are really so many other aspects and so many other types of food in the state. I think all of it’s been great to being a broader awareness to the state.”

“People have really embraced us, and understand what we are. We have created our own niche in the community and aren’t trying to compare ourselves to other restaurants or trends.”

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