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Bâton Rouge Grillhouse & Bar celebrates 30 years with rebranding and franchise renos

    A look at the new Decarie interior.

    Founded here in Montreal in 1992, Bâton Rouge Grillhouse & Bar has grown to serve up quality, fire-grilled food in 28 locations in Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. 

    The franchise on Decarie has always been my “go-to” spot for this chain since it opened two decades ago. It recently shut down for a five-week period for an extensive renovation and redesign and became the first to represent Bâton Rouge’s brand-new identity,  encapsulating a modern grill house.

    “We totally gutted the place,” said John Rose, the manager at Decarie for the past 16 years. “It was just time after 21 years in operation for a total refresh.”

    Bâton Rouge Grillhouse & Bar
    The Decarie bar area and new TV  screens.

    The seating capacity here is 242 in the dining room, with an additional and 65 on the seasonal terrace.  At a  recent VIP opening, Brand Leader Jesse Campeau,  Director of Marketing Maria Frank and the franchisees Jimmy Sotiropoulos, Dean Tallini and John Frintzilas welcomed special guests for cocktails, appetizers  and a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Also on hand were loyal clients, suppliers and officials from the MTY Group, which acquired the Bâton Rouge brand in 2018.

    Everything from the booths, tables, lighting, TVs, bar, washrooms and wine cellar are spanking new. The restaurant’s new design and layout boast a modern, laid-back look that strikes the right balance between comfortable seating and the lively bar atmosphere. The curated sound system and music create an ambiance that exudes casual elegance, while the lighting offers guests a varying atmosphere throughout the day. The new design was developed by Anonymous Concepts, and the project represents an investment of  $1.3 million.

    Frank notes that planned called for the new look dating back to before the pandemic. The shutdowns allowed management to take considerable time to work on the new design. Locations at Complexe Desjardins and in  Lachenaie this summer, followed by Kanata in the Ottawa area and a brand new franchise at Carrefour Angrignon in LaSalle in the fall.

    Steaks are top-notch here.

    Let me just state how much of a treat it is for me to eat at a Bâton Rouge. My favorite was always the chicken ribs, accompanied by their phenomenal fries. For my first meal at the newly refurbished location,  a friend and I each started out with piping hot bowls of creamy lobster bisque. I have heard a lot of good things about the 15-ounce rib steak here, so  I ordered mine medium rare. Yes indeed, they grill the perfect steak here. And yes, I opted for the fries as well. My friend ordered a rack of ribs and was in heaven as they still literally “fall off the bone.” His side was a baked potato.

    Bâton Rouge Grillhouse & Bar
    The trademark ribs

    I was given a nice heads-up regarding the desserts of a new offering: the key lime pie dipped in chocolate.  I could not resist something that sounded so delicious and that it was indeed. My friend chose the cheesecake and he was not disappointed either.

    Server Megan with some desserts.

    Frank said that food innovation has been a major pillar for the chain in 2023. A new Spring/Summer menu features items such as black cod, tempura shrimp, grilled octopus and lobster.

    Last fall’s 30th anniversary of the chain was marked with the name change from Bâton Rouge Steakhouse & Bar to Grillhouse & Bar. But make no mistake about it. The steaks here remain a big draw.

    The fully renovated Bâton Rouge is located at 5385 des Jockey Street in Montreal, a few steps from the Namur Metro Station and with plenty of parking.  For locations of all the restaurants and menu items log on to  https://www.batonrouge.ca/en.

    Mike Cohen

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