2 Johns Additions
Pandemic canâ€™t 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.
â€śWhatâ€™s happened is, every year, our base keeps growing,â€ť said owner John Montelepre. â€śWe just donâ€™t have enough seats. We turn business away every Friday and Saturday when itâ€™s not football season. A lot of nights you come in here, and you canâ€™t get in the bar. We just felt like it was time for us to add a few more seats. Weâ€™re 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€ť
A visit to the courtyard, which is now open, is like a visit to New Orleans. Thatâ€™s just what Montelepre, a New Orleans native, wanted.
â€śItâ€™s very, very NOLA-like,â€ť Montelepre said. â€śI think itâ€™s more NOLA than NOLA is. It turned out a lot better than what we thought.â€ť
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. Thereâ€™s also jazz music playing, courtesy of the restaurantâ€™s new sound system. Your seating choices include tables or an L-shaped sofa.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a wrought-iron fence that outlines the whole courtyard,â€ť Montelepre said. â€śWeâ€™ve got those tall boxwoods that outline the fence. Theyâ€™re probably five feet tall now. Theyâ€™ll grow to 10 feet and bush out so you wonâ€™t 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€ť
Despite the shirt-soaking summer heat and humidity, Montelepre says the courtyard provides a pleasant atmosphere.
â€śAbout seven oâ€™clock, itâ€™s not hot out there. There always seems to be a breeze. I think itâ€™s a combination of listening to the fountain, youâ€™ve got the jazz behind you. Youâ€™re just kind of chillinâ€™,â€ť he adds.
To help you â€śchill,â€ť one of the restaurantâ€™s mixologists (there are three) came up with the 2 Johns Hurricane.
â€śThis hurricane is off the chart,â€ť Montelepre said. â€śItâ€™s 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. Itâ€™s in a hurricane glass. Itâ€™s just a great drink.â€ť
Opening Aug. 28, this new seating area will hold 65 people â€“ 45 more than the old patio. And you wonâ€™t have to worry about the weather.
â€śThe patio we have now is enclosed, but has windows,â€ť Montelepre said.
â€śI had custom-made windows that can open up when itâ€™s nice in the fall and the spring, and Iâ€™ve got air-conditioning and heat so that I can use it every night.â€ť
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.)
â€śSo, when you walk into the restaurant, and the bar is full like it is most nights, you wonâ€™t mind going to the patio because we will probably be piping in the live music out there,â€ť Montelepre said. â€śWeâ€™re also tossing around the idea of having different types of music genre out there â€¦ 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€ť
Even though itâ€™s 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.
â€śWeâ€™re adding a bunch of Burgundys and a bunch of Bordeauxs,â€ť Montelepre said. â€śWeâ€™ve got a really nice list now, but weâ€™re really going to have a nice list.â€ť
The new cellar will also give Montelepre a little more room at home.
â€śIâ€™ve got wine everywhere,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™ve got 30 cases at my house. Everywhere you look, Iâ€™ve got wine. Weâ€™ve 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€ť
To learn more about 2 Johns, you may visit www.2johnsrestaurant.com.