For over three years, Chef Greg Barthe endured long, scorching days inside his Columbia food truck, Fleur De Licious Creole.
But now the Louisiana-native will finally move out of his food truck operation when he opens up his brick and mortar restaurant, The Bistreaux, in mid-July.
“July heat and August heat on the food truck is a different kind of heat,” Barthe said. “And I'm sure you can imagine that, so that's one of the most exciting things that I will not have to deal with 105 degree heat on the food truck.”
His restaurant, which he operates alongside his wife, LeToya Barthe, is set for Broad River Road and will feature similar cajun-creole focused cuisine to what Barthe already serves in his food truck.
The Bistreaux, pronounced like the word bistro, draws its name from the French suffix -eaux that is often used as a part of surnames in Louisiana culture, where cajun-creole dishes are a staple.
Barthe, who is in charge of the restaurant's kitchen, has spent over three decades in kitchens across the country — from Disney’s culinary school program to restaurants in Las Vegas and New Orleans.
The spot will serve popular entrees from the food truck like beignets, a French-American deep fried pastry, and po’ boy sandwiches, but will also include more complex dishes than what Barthe has been able to serve out of the cramped food truck like blackened pork chops and a ribeye steak. The restaurant will also serve brunch items on Sundays.
The restaurant will also have a fully stocked liquor bar. Though Barthe said he is still in the process of hiring a bar manager.
And Barthe said guests will feel like they're sitting outside while eating at the restaurant. The floors will look like gravel-paved streets and Barthe has plans for an indoor fountain.
“What we’re doing is, we’re using the concept of an old world New Orleans courtyard,” Barthe said. The restaurant’s bar area will be laid out similar to what you’d find in a courtyard at a mansion in the French Quarter," Barthe said.
The project is years in the making for the Barthes, who moved to Columbia from Baton Rouge in 2017 and started their food truck in May 2019. Barthe started the food truck under the same name, but with a slightly different food concept, while in Baton Rouge over a decade ago. Barthe said the food truck will continue to operate even after he’s opened The Bistreaux.
This will be the pair's first venture owning their own restaurant.
"It's scary, man, to be honest with you. It's not scary because I don't think we can't execute it. It's scary because you know, there's so much uncertainty in the world right now," Barthe said. "We picked a great time … because commercial rents are down because of the pandemic ... but then the other parts of the economy are very, very scary."
While definitive hours for the restaurant are still being set, Barthe said he plans to be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays for brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The restaurant is set to host a grand opening on July 15 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is located at 2700 Broad River Rd. For more information, you can visit facebook.com/eatfleurdelicious.