The second restaurant venture from chef Guillermo Peters at his lower St. Charles Avenue property has come to an end with the closing of Stop 9 Refueling Station & Culinary Specialties.
The restaurant, named for the streetcar stop just outside, opened last spring as a breakfast/lunch café with a sideline of gourmet groceries. It never seemed like the right fit for the huge, two-level building, which is because the property was built out for grander things.
Peters previously operated the two-part restaurant concept Taqueros/Coyoacan here. It was the evolution of his original Taqueros, an excellent taqueria that drew a loyal base out to its Kenner location in the days before much authentic Mexican fare could be found anywhere in the metro area. In 2004, he moved Uptown, operating Taqueros as an upscale cantina on the first floor of his newly renovated building while he introduced Coyoacan upstairs as a fine-dining environment and by far the most ambitious Mexican restaurant in the area. It reopened after Katrina as a combination of the two concepts in the first floor space, but then closed in 2007.
With Stop 9, Peters and his daughter Ingrid Thomas tried out a number of different concepts, from breakfast service to high-end groceries to a tapas night at the beautiful, curved bar originally built for the elaborate tequila collection at Taqueros. But the restaurant seemed much too large and lavishly designed for the stuffed burgers, Cuban sandwiches and breakfast plates that had to sustain the place day to day. The massive, open kitchen downstairs appeared ready to feed a bustling dining room, but on my visits the customer volume always seemed a trickle.
I'm very curious as to what will happen next at this prominent property, and I hope it doesn't stay shuttered for long.
-- Ian McNulty