Sophie Bolich

Blac Bistro Leaves Paper Table, Plans Restaurant

Planning to serve Italian-Creole fare in Walker's Point restaurant with supper club style.

By - Jan 30th, 2023 03:50 pm
Site of future Blac Bistro, 908 S. 5th St. Photo taken Jan. 30 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future Blac Bistro, 908 S. 5th St. Photo taken Jan. 30 by Sophie Bolich.

Nearly six months after launching Blac Bistro at Paper Table, restaurateurs Albert and Michele Burrus have vacated their commercial kitchen space with plans to open a restaurant in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

The relocation, said Albert Burrus, will provide an opportunity to enhance the hospitality factor of the dining experience through ambience, alcohol and live entertainment — all of which were unachievable at the delivery-focused food hall.

The new Blac Bistro — a working title — would combine the comfort and class of a supper club with the intrigue of a speakeasy, making it an ideal date night destination.

Before exiting the food hall, Albert and Michele Burrus were operated two concepts, Blac Bistro and Black Bistro Asian & Seafood. A third, Slammin’ Sammies, was in the works.

The menu for the upcoming place will offer a sampling of dishes from all three menus, with an overall focus on Italian-Creole and seafood dishes such as jambalaya, shrimp scampi and cajun lobster sandwiches.

The restaurant is planned for 908 S. 5th St., in a building formerly occupied by Arts @ Large. The nonprofit organization has since relocated a few blocks south, to 1100 S. 5th St.

The 4,899-square-foot, two-story building would seat up to 120 guests in its main dining room. The owners plan to introduce rooftop seating in the future.

An opening is tentatively planned for April or May, following renovations to the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. The restaurant would also need to apply for food, liquor and entertainment licenses.

Aside from food, Albert Burrus said he hopes to curate “the ultimate date night lounge experience,” and plans to feature live entertainers such as musicians and comedians, as well as organized activities, game nights and more for groups and couples.

Above all, he said, the new restaurant will allow him to focus on his long-term goals while continuing to hone his culinary skills.

“I am a lifetime chef,” he said. “We want a location where we can give the full experience.”

Another factor in his departure from Paper Table, he explained, was cost. “We just couldn’t properly operate and stay profitable with making sure we are executing our plans for the future,” he said.

Blac Bistro was the first restaurant to open at the food hall, 733-737 N. Milwaukee St. The owners also operate a catering company, Black Diamond Catering.

For catering inquiries and more information, visit the Blac Bistro website.

The food hall’s ever-changing website currently lists 10 concepts — eight of which are operated by Kamal Shkoukani, who started his small restaurant empire with the launch of Secret Hot Chicken in October 2022.

Two other vendors, Taste of Life Soul Food and Po’Manz Foods also recently left the food hall after several months in business.

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