Bourbon Street to be replaced

SYDNEY HAUER, Executive Editor | [email protected]

Bourbon Street, the Mardi Gras-themed restaurant in downtown Cedar Falls owned by Barmuda companies, closed down after being in business for 13 years. However, a new restaurant is set to take its place.

One of the better-known features of Bourbon Street will remain a central theme at the new restaurant. In the middle of the dining room is a large, realistic sculpture of an oak tree. It’s this sculpture that the new restaurant, Noble Oak, will take its name from. Noble Oak is set to open in early June.

The oak tree sculpture was commissioned by Darin Beck, CEO of Barmuda companies in Carlsbad, CA in 2003. He said that, although the sculpture sat in the middle of the dining room, he didn’t want to remove it from the space for the new project.

“I wanted to pay homage to the tree because everybody loves it,” Beck said. “So we called it Noble Oak.”

Beck went on to explain the decision to open the new restaurant.

“It’s an idea I had been working on for a couple of years,” Beck said. “We’ve been wanting to do more of a specialty smoked meats and barbeque restaurant for quite a while.”

Beck said that the restaurant will feature an affordable menu of smoked meats, seafood, barbeque and steaks, all under $15.

“Food wise, I am very excited about the menu we are offering,” said Chad Huhn, manager of Noble Oak. “We are definitely going to be offering some smoked meats that are outside the box, such as pork belly and shrimp and house-smoked salmon.”

Huhn also said that the restaurant will be “homey” and feature a family-style dining option, where large plates of food will be placed in the middle of the table and shared. Noble Oak will also be one of the first restaurants to offer wine on tap in the Cedar Valley.

Bourbon Street had been a successful restaurant that featured Cajun, Creole and Louisiana-style cooking with an upscale feel.

In response to this, Beck changed the menu and made it more affordable, but he said much of the community didn’t realize this change had been made.

“I was in love with my new concept, and I’m in love with that location,” Beck said, “and I thought, well, instead of spending all of this marketing money to try to re-educate the market on what Bourbon Street is today, why don’t we just close it, re-concept it and reopen it as Noble Oak and kill two birds with one stone?”

Barmuda Companies is known for their frequent venue swapping and experimenting with new restaurant and bar ideas. They just opened Deringer’s Public Parlor on Main Street in Cedar Falls, as a new country bar at Voodoo Lounge’s previous location.

Meanwhile, Voodoo Lounge has since moved to the old Joker’s location. Beck said that a lot of the reason for these reinventions of current spaces are his own changing tastes, as well as his feel for the changing trends of the community.

“You’ve got to be cutting edge and you’ve got to be appealing to your demographics; and in today’s society, you’ve got to be appealing to a mixed demo-[graphic],” Beck said. “Not strictly to baby boomers or strictly to millennials; you actually have to be creative and attract both.”

“I think the community will really appreciate Noble Oak,” Huhn said. “It will be very approachable for all, with some unique offerings for the foodies out there.  The wine and beer lists will be very eclectic with something for everyone.”