After Lakeview restaurant Elle-J’s closes, owners of Velvet Cactus, Wrong Iron step in

The Lakeview Italian restaurant Elle-J’s has served its last supper, and permanently closed after service on July 29. However, the wheels are already turning on a plan for a new restaurant to take its place.

The owners of the nearby restaurant Velvet Cactus and the Mid-City bar Wrong Iron have leased the former Elle-J’s space at 900 Harrison Ave.

Much about the new restaurant here remains in the works, including its name, said Rusty White, who along with Herb Dyer and other partners is developing it.

But White said they were sure the address would be a sought-after spot and jumped at the chance to take it on for a new venture.

“We all live here in Lakeview, and we want something that’s going to be good for Lakeview,” said White.

As things stand now, their concept will blend a modern neighborhood restaurant with an American bistro. White said it would have a wide-ranging menu, a family-friendly aspect and a large bar, which has long been part of the design here.

Renovations are set to begin soon. White said he hopes to have the new restaurant open before the end of the year.

Elle-J’s opened in the fall of 2019, just six months before the pandemic threw all restaurants into turmoil. It initially served a mix of regional Italian and Creole-Italian dishes.

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This corner spot along Lakeview’s main street has seen a number of restaurants through the years, including Leano's, Barataria and Lago.

Before becoming Elle-J’s, it had a 10-year run as Mondo, an eclectic, neighborhood-style restaurant from acclaimed local chef Susan Spicer. Today Spicer runs her casual restaurant Rosedale nearby and her original restaurant Bayona in the French Quarter.

For the next restaurant here, White said he and his partners are focused on bringing something accessible to the neighborhood for anytime dining.

“The thing about Lakeview is, if you do something good the neighborhood is so loyal they will support it,” he said.

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