2 Johns Additions
Pandemic canât prevent improvements to local restaurant
2 Johns Steak and Seafood is 11 years old â and growing.
While so many restaurants â locally and nationally â have closed because of the COVID-19 impact, the fine-dining Bossier City restaurant is an outlier. Three new construction projects started just weeks before the pandemic â a courtyard, patio and wine cellar â are either finished or soon will be finished.
âWhatâs happened is, every year, our base keeps growing,â said owner John Montelepre. âWe just donât have enough seats. We turn business away every Friday and Saturday when itâs not football season. A lot of nights you come in here, and you canât get in the bar. We just felt like it was time for us to add a few more seats. Weâre going to have 300 seats in Bossier City. I never thought I would have a 300-seat restaurant in Bossier City, but I do.â
A visit to the courtyard, which is now open, is like a visit to New Orleans. Thatâs just what Montelepre, a New Orleans native, wanted.
âItâs very, very NOLA-like,â Montelepre said. âI think itâs more NOLA than NOLA is. It turned out a lot better than what we thought.â
You can enjoy a cocktail, dine and smoke if you like â while taking in the soothing sounds of water cascading down a three-tiered fountain. Thereâs also jazz music playing, courtesy of the restaurantâs new sound system. Your seating choices include tables or an L-shaped sofa.
âWeâve got a wrought-iron fence that outlines the whole courtyard,â Montelepre said. âWeâve got those tall boxwoods that outline the fence. Theyâre probably five feet tall now. Theyâll grow to 10 feet and bush out so you wonât see the railroad track. It (courtyard) will be completely closed off. We have some fans on the wall, and lots of flowers out there.â
Despite the shirt-soaking summer heat and humidity, Montelepre says the courtyard provides a pleasant atmosphere.
âAbout seven oâclock, itâs not hot out there. There always seems to be a breeze. I think itâs a combination of listening to the fountain, youâve got the jazz behind you. Youâre just kind of chillinâ,â he adds.
To help you âchill,â one of the restaurantâs mixologists (there are three) came up with the 2 Johns Hurricane.
âThis hurricane is off the chart,â Montelepre said. âItâs has a frozen Granada â a bunch of different liqueurs that we freeze overnight, so you have kind of like a snow cone in that hurricane. Itâs in a hurricane glass. Itâs just a great drink.â
Opening Aug. 28, this new seating area will hold 65 people â 45 more than the old patio. And you wonât have to worry about the weather.
âThe patio we have now is enclosed, but has windows,â Montelepre said.
âI had custom-made windows that can open up when itâs nice in the fall and the spring, and Iâve got air-conditioning and heat so that I can use it every night.â
While you dine on white tablecloths, sit in wooden chairs with custom-made cushions, and glance at the three big-screen televisions (one 75-inch and two 50-inch), you can listen to live music performed in the bar. (Montelepre is proud of the fact he has had live music every night since 2 Johns opened.)
âSo, when you walk into the restaurant, and the bar is full like it is most nights, you wonât mind going to the patio because we will probably be piping in the live music out there,â Montelepre said. âWeâre also tossing around the idea of having different types of music genre out there âŠ so you would have two different types of music genre to choose from, which I think would be kind of unique for this market.â
Even though itâs not a place to sit down and have a drink or a meal, wine lovers will still be the beneficiary of this new construction, which is where the patio used to be.
âWeâre adding a bunch of Burgundys and a bunch of Bordeauxs,â Montelepre said. âWeâve got a really nice list now, but weâre really going to have a nice list.â
The new cellar will also give Montelepre a little more room at home.
âIâve got wine everywhere,â he said. âIâve got 30 cases at my house. Everywhere you look, Iâve got wine. Weâve got about 2,500 bottles right now. I will have the capability to hold about 4,000 bottles, so it will give us room to grow.â
To learn more about 2 Johns, you may visit www.2johnsrestaurant.com.