Downtown Cajun/Creole restaurant Lafayette closes

After only a few months in operation, downtown Asheville Cajun/Creole restaurant Lafayette has closed permanently. An announcement on the eatery’s website says the Lexington Avenue business, which debuted in May, is closed for the winter. But owner Michel Baudouin confirmed on Monday, Jan. 4, that Lafayette will not reopen, and a new restaurant is in the works for the location.

“The concept seems to have landed with a thud, and I am not of the opinion that it can be suitably tweaked,” Baudouin explained in an email to Xpress. “You win some, you lose some — the important thing is to try!”

The closure comes on the heels of a venue swap for the restaurant. In early October, Baudouin moved one of his other eateries, the decade-old Crêperie Bouchon, from its original space in a courtyard off North Lexington Avenue to Lafayette’s larger space at 68 N. Lexington Ave. Lafayette was, in turn, moved into the smaller courtyard space.

Around the time of the venue change, Baudouin and Lafayette executive chef Tres Hundertmark parted ways. Hundertmark had relocated from New Orleans to Asheville in 2014 to work with Baudouin. But Baudouin says Hundertmark has not been with the restaurant since late September.

Lafayette was originally rolled out last spring as part of an ambitious project Baudouin dubbed the Asheville French Quarter. The plans entailed a complex that would open onto the Lexington Avenue Courtyard and include Lafayette as well as Crêperie Bouchon and Bouchon. Baudouin had also planned to build an event space, RendezVous, as part of the concept.

Baudouin says he is currently in the “very early planning stages” of a new concept for the Lafayette space, which will should launch this spring. More details to come.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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5 thoughts on “Downtown Cajun/Creole restaurant Lafayette closes

  1. boatrocker

    As much as I love Cajun and creole food,

    Gosh, who would have thought that restaurants in town would ever I mean ever go out of business for investing in a Malthusian economy.

    Hey breweries, yoga studios, restaurants, Thomas Malthus’ theory on the carrying capacity is why Asheville’s new motto is

    ” The Emperor Has No Clothes”.

    Asheville has over reached it’s carrying capacity, When a city gives the finger to the folks working for tourists, then something is horribly wrong.

    Enter the ‘let the free market decide’ types for rebuttals.

    • Jess

      You may be on to something, boatrocker, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the whole story for this situation. If you read any of the reviews of this restaurant, ever ate there or spoke to anyone that ate there, you would know that this restaurant was somewhat doomed already. There was a lack of consistency and quality that never seemed to be reconciled. Even a successful Restaurateur like Baudouin couldn’t save it by his good graces alone. In a town with so many good choices, we demand quality and consistency or you will not survive. (Or there’s owners that don’t care and just have the money to keep pumping their crap out anyway.) With such a specific theme, especially, the expectations are even higher. It’s a shame, but I hope that Baudouin learns from this situation and his new concept will be more impressive. The courtyard is just so sweet! It deserves a quality business to match the ambiance of the space!

      • The Real World

        @Jess – totally agree with your comments. Whereas I never ate at Lafayette I have dined at the Creperie twice and it was mediocre both times so I won’t return. Bouchon is good and I’ll dine there again.

        You’re right that there is much worthy dining competition here so a restaurant doesn’t have to blow me away but they need to hit the appropriate marks for repeat business.

  2. boatrocker

    Not even having eaten there (yea, lame, I know), if that’s the place I’m thinking of then it will still always be Vincent’s Ear in my little world.
    Yes, Vincent’s Ear had a wonderful little courtyard.

    Post Hurricane Katrina, about the only good thing about all the Louisiana folks having to flee was that a lot of them ended up here, much to my stomach’s delight.

    I still find it hilarious that whenever it’s mentioned that Asheville has over reached its carrying capacity for fancy restaurants that the local wage slave poors can’t afford to try, silence and crickets follow. It reminds me of how Bernie Sander’s campaign is given the silent treatment on a national level by mainstream press. Gotta keep up appearances.

    Oh well, when Asheville crash lands as a city in a few years, I’ll still be the Statler and Waldorf saying ‘I told you so!’ from the balcony. Economic disparity is real here, and it will not go away by simply ignoring it.

    Thomas Malthus. Get used to hearing that dead guy’s theories brought up when we are confronted with the haves vs. the have nots.
    Let them eat cake didn’t work the first time, so why should it work now?

  3. We ate there once for date night. We do not get out much so we where excited. As someone whose family is from Lafayette I can tell you my expectations where dashed efore the foid even came out. You see when I herd how they
    pronounced Lafayette I knew it was going to be bad.

    True cajun food is not hot just to be hot. And it
    does not get better, just becouse you make it hotter. For the record, I had the gumbo and Etouffee. The gumbo was ok, the Etouffee was so hot as to have no flavor. It did not make it becouse the market is saturated, but becouse it was not good. If you want real cajun food I sugest Mr Bs in Nrw Orleans.

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