Michel Baudouin, Chef/Owner of Bouchon and Crêperie Bouchon, announces the addition of a new restaurant, Lafayette, on North Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville. Lafayette will feature Cajun and Creole cuisine in the Louisiana tradition, specialties of Executive Chef Tres Hundtermark, returned to Asheville last year from several gigs in New Orleans.
Lafayette is named in honor of the French general who delivered essential aid to the American Colonies during the American Revolution. General John J. Pershing, upon his arrival in France as the U.S. entered World War I, famously declared, “Lafayette, we are here!” in tribute to Gen. Lafayette’s vital service to our nascent country.
Lafayette Cajun Creole Cuisine will be located at 68 North Lexington Avenue in the space formerly occupied by The Local Taco. While Local Taco proprietor John Ko was not looking to sell his restaurant, Baudouin jokes that he “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
“The complicated infrastructure issues in the reconstruction of Bouchon’s back building have resulted in unforeseen delays. Updating and restoring the structure with attention to saving as much of the original as possible has proved to be quite challenging, especially considering the impact it has had on Bouchon’s operations,” said Baudouin.
“Right now, Bouchon’s refrigeration systems are located in the back building in an area approved for limited operations. For the restoration to begin, these large systems have to be moved completely out of the building. It made sense to me to approach John about acquiring his space—there’s ample room for our equipment in addition to it being a great location for Lafayette.”
Upon the two restaurateurs reaching an agreement, John Ko said,“We had no plans to leave Asheville so soon. I would like to thank our loyal customers, employees, and local partners.”
Opening day for Lafayette is tentatively scheduled for May 1st. Expect Cajun and Creole classics such as red beans & rice and shrimp etouffée to be on the menu, along with some more unusual offerings. Chaudin (shoh-dan), a stuffed pig’s stomach (so much better than it sounds), and fried boudin (boo-dan) balls, made of Arcadian pork and rice sausages rolled in bread crumbs then fried, are two of those dishes.
Baudouin will release more information about the grand opening in the next few weeks. Hiring has already begun, with the new restaurant scheduled to add 40 living-wage jobs for Asheville.
“I am so proud of the team I have working with me. Many of them are longtime employees, some have been with us since the Grape Escape days. Their dedication, flexibility and faith in me has been inspirational as we’ve navigated the challenges of the past two years. Everyone on the team is excited about the new Lafayette and our future as the Asheville French Quarter.”