COURTESY LINDSEY JO VASQUEZ
The team behind Mandeville's Opal Basil is opening two restaurants in the Warehouse District this summer.
Mandeville’s Opal Basil
closed last month, but its owners plan to open two restaurants in the Warehouse District this summer.
The first to open, Briquette (701 S. Peters St.), is larger and will highlight contemporary coastal cuisine, says Lindsey Jo Vasquez, who ran Opal Basil with her husband and chef Robert Vasquez.
“The big focus with Briquette is highlighting Louisiana seafood,” Vasquez says. “We’ll have a giant grill and all different types of seafood and fish.”
The restaurant will include a long bar and seating for approximately 180 people and will serve lunch and dinner. The space is part of the Refinery building, named for the Rodd Bros. Molasses Refinery, which occupied the structure when it was first built in the 1800s. The menu is being finalized, but Vasquez says there will likely be a few dishes and drinks that pay homage to the building’s history, including a molasses Manhattan.
Next door at 719 S. Peters St., the couple plans on opening an offshoot of their flagship concept, Opal Basil, which Vasquez describes as a more “casual, neighborhood cafe,” where breakfast, lunch and small plates will be served, including salads, sandwiches and flatbreads.
Robert Vasquez, who is helming the kitchens at both spots, is a tenured chef who started out in fine dining in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has cooked all over the world, including Spain, Singapore, San Diego and Bermuda, among other places.
Opal Basil likely will open a few weeks after Briquette launches, by mid-summer.