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.