Construction is in full swing to add a rooftop bar and a 125-seat second floor party room and to renovate the bistro’s façade to give it more of a southern flair in tune with its namesake street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Restaurant representatives said the plan is to complete the rooftop bar and new second floor, which was home to a learning center, by this summer so patrons can experience something fresh on Bell Boulevard.
“Everybody likes to be outside, especially after the winter we’ve just had,” owner Mark Boccia said. “You could see the Throgs Neck Bridge in the distance, you could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance, and the roof is above pretty much every other roof in Bayside, so you’ll get a whole different atmosphere. It’s almost like you’re not on Bell Boulevard.”
The approximately 2,000-square-foot rooftop area will have outdoor seating, serve eight to 10 beers on tap and include a raw seafood bar. Wrought iron railing, like those in New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, will be added to the rooftop and terraces on the second floor.
The project, designed by CD Architect Studio, also includes new signage and awnings over the terraces with New Orleans colors: purple, yellow and green.
A new vestibule and wider entrance has been completed and a new staircase from the ground floor was recently added for easy access to the second level. Large window doors are planned for the ground floor, and to make sure the now-three-level eatery is handicap accessible, a new elevator that leads to upper floors is being installed.
While all this construction is going on, the ground floor bar and restaurant will remain open.
Boccia also owns Austin’s Ale & Steak House in Forest Hills, which added an outdoor patio space last year. He believes that the transformation of Bourbon Street is necessary to compete with other businesses on Bell Boulevard and throughout the emerging borough.
“There are just so many places to go to in Queens now, whereas in the past it didn’t matter, Bell Boulevard was the thing,” Boccia said. “Brooklyn’s totally popped up and emerged, now it’s Queens’ turn. So if you want to be competitive in Bayside, you have to make change.”