The Roman’s Cafe once located in the Perkins Crossing shopping center has relocated to the Bluebonnet Village shopping center, reflecting a retail trend of restaurants trimming down their square footage.
The new cafe location, which will open for business July 15, will take up about 2,000 square feet of space—nearly half the size of its former 3,600-square-foot facility on Perkins Road, and on par with its other two locations on Government Street and Airline Highway.
Rafat Roman—whose family has owned the Greek and Lebanese restaurants in Baton Rouge for decades—says all three locations have seen an uptick in sales for carry-out meals and deliveries through the Waitr app.
“It’s about 50/50, dine-in versus carry-out or delivery,” Roman says. “But to-go has become more popular now than it was in the past.”
While that isn’t the restaurant owner’s only reason for relocating, his move illustrates a larger trend of restaurants opting for smaller physical footprints. Roman says a smaller facility will be easier to manage and offer customers a dining experience in a “cozier” atmosphere.
“Simply put, restaurants are downsizing,” says leasing agent Ty Gose of NAI Latter & Blum, who handles deals for the 33,000-square-foot shopping center near the intersection of Perkins Road and Essen Lane.
Despite the Roman’s move and a growing market preference for smaller spaces, Gose says Perkins Crossing is receiving interest from restaurants looking for space to lease in Baton Rouge’s growing culinary market.
But even its newest tenant, Green Heart Meals & Juices, follows the trendy carry-out business model. The healthy to-go meals boutique recently moved into the shopping center in the space once claimed by The Original Italian Pie, one of the three tenants that closed its Perkins Crossing location last year for unrelated reasons.
Aside from acquiring a smaller space, Roman says he wanted to move closer to Mexican grill Mi Padres, which he also owns. It is located next to the soon-to-be-opened Roman’s Cafe in Bluebonnet Village.
The new restaurant will keep its menu, Roman says, though the venue will look more “modern and Greek.”
“Think Santorini,” he says.