by Scott Gold
Efforts to revitalize business on Tulane Ave. in Mid-City get a boost next week with the opening of Trèo , a cozy cocktail bar with small plates and even an arts center. Trèo is the brainchild of husband and wife owners Pauline and Stephen Patterson, who also own the popular bar Finn McCool's Irish Pub.
The Pattersons have tasked Chef James Cullen (formerly of St. Lawrence, Cafe Reconcile, and New York's Pearl Oyster Bar) with creating a menu that will accompany Treo's list of craft cocktails.
Said Cullen, "We’re going to have the same kind of hospitality and service that you’d get at Finn's, but in a nonsmoking and more intimate environment with small plates and tapas-style food. There’s going to be a few items that draw upon the Irish influence — my family is irish and Sicilian as well — and obviously our southern Louisiana roots. We'll have fun, playful plates. It’s not a particular style of cuisine, really, but plates showing strong traditional roots with a few playful twists and turns."
"There are a lot of people doing small plates these days, but we’re trying to do something both familiar and creative at the same time," Cullen added. "We’re looking to keep all plates between $8-$10, so it’ll be affordable, too. With only about forty-five seats, it’ll be a nice 'date-night' place in Mid-City. There’ll also be craft cocktails and craft beers, and we also have an interesting little wine list that we’ve been tasting through, with some less well-known regions."
While the chef is still putting finishing touches on the final menu (and the kitchen, as well), guests at Trèo can look forward to small plates including "fresh charcuterie, pâtés, sausages, terrines, and similar dishes." The chef also noted Treo will begin serving cocktails late next week, with the cuisine to follow.
"We’re going to phase [the menu] in over a long period of time," Cullen said. "We should have our full kitchen by Feb. 1st. We're going to start initially with the bar with some small bites, and hopefully by the beginning of February we’ll have the full menu."
Along with an outdoor area that Cullen and the Pattersons plan to cultivate this Spring, Trèo will also house an arts center, which will host arts exhibits and even cooking classes. "We’re all hoping that it becomes not just a bar and restaurant, but also a community center. I'm going to be giving some of the classes, including things like knife skills and butchering classes. It’s going to be a lot of fun," said the chef. Other classes, according to Trèo's website, will include brewing and mixology, as well.
Service will also be a priority at Trèo. According to Cullen, "We’re primarily a cocktail lounge with friendly, inviting service. I don’t want the kind of standoffish service you get sometimes, where a bartender doesn’t realize that what they're putting into the glass is never as important as the person they're putting it in there for. I want people have a good time and to keep coming back, and to become part of that Mid-City fabric the way that Finn’s is."
Trèo is located at 3835 Tulane Ave. at South Scott St. in Mid-City, and is planned to open late next week. Those hoping to be first to visit are encouraged to keep abreast of the restaurant's Facebook page for an official opening day and time.