With a combined three decades of experience in helping people enjoy themselves, two New Orleans natives decided to pool their expertise to operate the brand new restaurant and bar, KJ's On the Blvd. (5243 Canal Blvd., 488-0100).
Named for owners Kyle Arceneaux and John Duplantis, who also is the lead singer in the local band Bag of Donuts, KJ's offers a place for customers to have lunch and dinner, watch sporting events on more than a half-dozen televisions, listen to live music on weekends and sip cocktails, fine wines and a choice of 10 beers on tap, a selection of domestic beers, chilled Jagermeister or almost two dozen imported brews.
"Between Kyle and myself, we have about 15 years each in the business, and we decided to partner up," says Duplantis, who spent several years of that time supplying wine and liquor to respected local restaurants. "We actually became KJ's On the Blvd. on Sunday, Aug. 31, and to consecrate it Bag of Donuts played that night. About 900 people showed up for the concert."
With such a heady opening, some businesses would just sit back and enjoy the success, but Arceneaux and Duplantis are going full-steam ahead with plans to renovate KJ's building, which previously housed Pacific Bar and Grill, build a stage inside for live music shows and complete a small, cozy Tiki Cove bar on one side of the barroom. The Polynesian-inspired tiki bar, the brainchild of Bag of Donuts guitarist Jonathan Hoerner, will be outfitted with a thatched roof, ceramic tiki-head drink glasses and a menu of exotic drinks, including one -- large enough for three or four people -- that will be served flaming in a bowl. That bar also will feature music Duplantier characterizes as "mondo-exotica."
Except for weekends when LSU sporting events will be shown on the two big-screen and six regular-screen TVs, Saturdays will feature live music by bands including The Joneses, Dash Rip Rock, Bucktown All-Stars, Chee Weez, Jukebox Zeros and Tom's House and, of course, Duplantis' group. Thursday and Friday nights will play host to DJs and dancing, with some live music planned on Fridays. A Web site, www.kjsontheblvd.com, is expected to be operating by Oct. 1 and will display a calendar of events.
Lunch-time diners will be treated to "a good neighborhood restaurant with burgers, special wraps, a KJ's special sandwich, a touch of seafood and basic appetizers," Duplantis says. Standard fare after 3 p.m. will focus on "basic bar food" with the kitchen staying open later into the evening Thursday through Saturday to accommodate a late-night crowd.
The bar soon will feature a new, expanded wine list and a martini menu to provide a wide variety of tastes for a diverse clientele.
"We're going to try and really shake it up," Duplantis says. "Our demographics are from 22 to 52; we have young and old that frequent this neighborhood.
"Kyle and I were born and raised in New Orleans, and we appreciate the local support. We're going to try and accommodate anyone who wants to come and relax in a comfortable atmosphere."
A Royal Honor
Windsor Court hotel (300 Gravier St., 523-6000) has been named among the world's best travel accommodations by readers of the esteemed Travel + Leisure Magazine.
The magazine's August issue bestowed on Windsor Court two World's Best Awards, including a designation as one of the top 100 in the world and one of the top 100 in Canada and the United States. In determining the awards, readers rated hotels for their rooms, facilities, location, service, restaurants and value.
More recently, in Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report published this month, Windsor Court was ranked No. 12 among the top 20 U.S. hotels by readers of the guide for sophisticated travelers. Andrew Harper, who has published the guide for 25 years, says 87 percent of this year's respondents to the poll are presidents or CEOs of their companies, adding prestige to the honor.
Cancer Awareness Talks
In conjunction with Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in September, Ochsner Clinic Foundation is sponsoring two free lectures about the importance of prevention and early detection of women's reproductive cancers.
Gynecologic oncologist Dr. Lisa Bazzett is hosting the sessions, which begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, and Wednesday, Sept. 24, at Ochsner's Brent House (1514 Jefferson Hwy., second floor conference room). Seating is limited; call 842-5442 to register.
Statistics show that last year, more than 83,000 women were diagnosed with gynecologic cancers, which include ovarian, uterine, vaginal, cervical, vulvar and tubal cancers.
- Bartender Brandi Roth draws a cold beer for a customer at the new KJ's On the Blvd.