LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A new restaurant is going to be built on the Lake Charles lakefront, city officials announced Tuesday morning.
The restaurant will be owned and operated by the owners of Crying Eagle Brewing Company, who currently have a restaurant on McNeese Street.
The announcement marks a major development in the plans for lakefront development.
Mayor Nic Hunter said plans are in the works to rehabilitate the old Harrah’s parking garage, long considered an eyesore on the lakefront.
“To tear down this parking garage alone would cost about $500,000. To rebuild this garage would cost probably 7 to 8 million. We’re going to rehab this thing from anywhere between $1.5 and $2 million. So, though it took a long time to get there, it was the financially responsible thing to do and we’re going to make use of this asset,” Hunter said. “New electrical, new wiring, new facade.”
Hunter said he had to give kudos to his predecessor.
“I know that the public, over the last few years, has really said ‘what’s going to happen to that parking garage?' I have to give some credit to Mayor Roach. I know it was a long haul, what to do with this parking garage," Hunter said.
“My family and I’s original vision for Crying Eagle was right here,” said Eric Avery, with Crying Eagle.
However, the timing wasn’t right and the Avery family moved forward with the McNeese Street location.
But seven years later, following last year’s announcement of the $20 million Port Wonder, the moment was right, he said.
“It’s so surreal. I remember 7 years ago looking at this site and thinking it would make for a fantastic location for Crying Eagle. While the timing wasn’t right then, the timing couldn’t be better now," Avery said.
There will be lots of similarities and lots of differences between the two restaurants, Avery said.
The restaurant will be family-friendly with a full-service restaurant and a small microbrewery, Avery said.
Hunter lauded the plans for Port Wonder as spurring other interest in lakefront development.
Lake area residents are excited for the lakefront’s face lift.
“I’m excited about it especially because its on the lake. I’ve been wanting Lake Charles to get a restaurant on the lake so I can watch the wildlife, look at the bridge," Esther McKinney said.
“I think by putting a restaurant on the face of lake charles downtown, is very important to the city of Lake Charles. it beautifies the city," James Jackson said.
Port Wonder is expected to be an educational and entertainment venue.