IT’LL BE OPEN soon, probably within weeks, according to owner Don Durley.
No firm date. He and his crew are still applying the finishing touches to what he’s calling The Courtyards, a bar/restaurant in south Marquette. They’ve transformed a homely little strip mall that was once home to a laundromat and a children’s clothing store into something special.
Inside, it does, in fact, look like a courtyard. A skylight. Patio-type chairs. A massive faux-tree with overhanging branches and leaves. Whimsical decorative flowers and a swan. Elaborate, finely crafted metal railings. Comfy, fun, welcoming.
Throughout, it’s a handsome, well-thought-out combination of wood, stone, bricks, and metal that bring the bar and restaurant sections together. The rounded bar is especially attractive. Outside seating, as well.
But here’s the thing.
When it opens, it’ll be only a bar, according to Durley. He wants to establish that first, then bring in food later. Maybe in a few months, nothing certain.
“This is going to be a neighborhood cocktail bar,” he says. “A place where you can get a nice cocktail or an inexpensive PBR. It’s going to be a nice mix of people.”
He wants it to be a classy, comfortable gathering place for the residents of south Marquette–he, himself, lives just a couple of blocks away. One wall of the restaurant is covered with historical photos of south Marquette–an homage to that sometime neglected part pf town.
But…but…but, Don, let’s talk about the food! No food when you open? Seriously? You’re a renowned chef, for goodness sakes! No food??
Not yet, he tells you, but it’ll come when he’s ready for it. So it’ll be Cajun-Creole, like at his other much-loved restaurant downtown, Lagniappe? He concedes there might a Louisiana flavor to some of the food offerings, but, no, it will not be a south Marquette version of Lagniappe.
Regardless, it’ll be something special, certainly a helluva lot nicer than a laundromat in a strip mall.
Bartenders are now being hired. The exterior sign for the The Courtyards is ready but not yet installed.
When it does go up (construction here has been underway for more than a year), that’ll be a good indication the doors will finally swing open for customers.