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Old Posted May 13, 2009, 2:03 PM
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Upscale downtown eatery in works

Advocate business writer
Published: May 13, 2009

Scott Varnadoe, the chef at the former Bluff’s restaurant and the kitchen at the Myrtles plantation will open Varnadoe’s at Kress at Third & Main in the fall.

The restaurant and another eatery called 1887 Bistro were announced for the development Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Downtown Development District.

Varnadoe described the restaurant as “upscale down South,” saying “you might see okra, black-eyed peas and foie gras on the same plate.”

He said it will be white tablecloth but with a casual atmosphere common in Southern upscale restaurants.

It will include an open kitchen, outdoor seating and a seafood display case. The restaurant will also serve brunch on Sundays.

1887 Bistro will be run separately and will transition from bakery items at breakfast to lunch to dinner to tapas and then a bar at night, said John Schneider, who is developing Kress with his business partner Brace Godfrey. The two are partners in Cyntreniks Group.

Godfrey and Schneider cut the ribbon on the $18 million redevelopment of the Kress/Knox/Welsh & Levy buildings in October.

The bistro got its name from the date the Knox building, the oldest of the development’s three original buildings, was built.

Schneider said additional retail development is still in the works, and he still expects to sign men’s and women’s clothing retailers.

Twelve of the 16 apartment units and one of the three condo units have been leased. There will also be an announcement soon about who will take up the 12,000 square feet of office space there. Schneider said he and Godfrey expect to have the entire project leased by Sept. 1.

The project will include a memorial to the 1960 lunch counter sit-in by seven black students who demanded service, were arrested and suspended from Southern University, but who helped spur the civil rights movement.

Godfrey also said work could begin on Cyntreniks’ other downtown project, the 93-room Hotel King on Lafayette Street, as soon as June and it could be open by fall 2010.
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