BELLFLOWER — Those enjoying the taste of New Orleans cuisine at the French Quarter Creole Bar and Grill, 16728 Bellflower Blvd., may soon be listening to the sounds of New Orleans as well.
The City Council May 23 approved an entertainment permit for the restaurant, which would allow a disc jockey, dancing, live bands, comedy shows and karaoke, with one or more such acts performing seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. at the owner’s discretion.
But council members warned owner Ernest McIntyre and general manager Marcus Jenkins not to follow in the footsteps of their predecessor on the site, the former Spikes Bar and Grill.
The latter facility lost its permit in June 2015 following complaints from nearby residents and neighboring businesses of loud, rowdy crowds and unruly conduct in a rear parking lot.
The restaurant is on the east side of Bellflower Boulevard, south of Belmont Street, the site of a large condominium complex.
“I have eaten at the French Quarter several times,” Councilman Ron Schnablegger said. “The food is great, but if there are complaints, we will be back to where we started last year. “You do have a load to carry from your predecessor.”
McIntyre, who said he has been in the restaurant business for 30 years and loves to cook, purchased the former Spikes Grill last June and has operated as a restaurant and bar with city permission for an occasional entertainment event.
“We have had zero complaints from neighbors. We are different,” said McIntyre, who said he sees his restaurant with a New Orleans theme as a family eatery which caters to an older, over 30 crowd.
He was backed up by a resident of the condo complex who said there was no disturbance from the special events held. Another six people also supported the restaurant.
McIntyre said he plans theme events such as Cajun Nights, oldies, blues, jazz, karaoke and dinner to live zydeco music, New Orleans style.
Jenkins said he has security both in the rear parking lot and in the front area.
McIntyre said a rear door to the patio will be closed forcing costumers to leave by the front entrance.
City Attorney Carl Berger noted that the Planning Commission has approved 42 conditions, including the requirement that the owner hire the entertainment.
The conditions prohibit allowing an outside contractor to produce events that attract a younger, more rowdy crowd.
“That means no more shake your bootie contests,” Mayor Dan Koops said.
The owners requested the entertainment continue until 2 a.m. but Councilman Sonny Santa Ines opted for midnight for a trial period.
“There is a place in Bellflower for this type of entertainment, but I am cautious,” Santa Ines said.
“I have visited New Orleans. Nothing ends at midnight,” Councilman Scott Larsen said.
A 1 a.m. closing time was approved for a six-month trial period.
In a written report to the council, Art Basmakian, director of planning services, noted that the restaurant is in a 5,610-square-foot, one-story building with a mezzanine. It seats up to 135.