The vision for The Hideaway on Lee was born before the pandemic. And like the rest of us, the team behind the new addition to the Downtown restaurant scene had to quickly pivot to make the business model work.
People are still hesitant to go to indoor restaurants, frequent bars and see live music — The Hideaway was designed to do all three. While many local restaurants and bars are facing challenges to stay open — several have battled coronavirus cases among staff — business partners Wilson Savoy and Dave and Line Livingston are moving full speed ahead in opening shop during a difficult time for small businesses.
The Hideaway is an expanded, rebranded version of The Stand on Lee, a late-night, walk-up kitchen that launched to fill out the late-night food options. The Stand’s spirit lives on inside the larger footprint, sharing a loungey outdoor patio with a new bar built by Savoy on the bones of an old house. The Hideaway opened back in early June and immediately popped as a casual, outdoor hangout.
“We are going back in time creating a familiar feel in the form of an old house converted into a bar, restaurant and music venue,” says Line Livingston. The idea takes inspiration from old hotel bars around the world mixed with the downhome intimacy of a Louisiana house dance.
The Livingstons and Savoy, who also fronts the Pine Leaf Boys, initially started the project back in February with a target opening date around Festival International — but COVID had other plans.
Hideaway instead opened in early June, as Lafayette’s coronavirus curve began to bulge again. The team has worked aggressively to follow social distancing guidelines. Masks are required for not only staff but patrons as well during high-volume business hours. The bar held its first mask-night over the weekend, adding a “mask bouncer” at the door to hand out masks and enforce the policy. The new rules didn’t kill the vibe (there was only a little grumbling), and Hideaway has since decided to make it a requirement every day of the week.
“I got a lot of input from local health officials who strongly encouraged us to implement a required mask night,” says Savoy. Noting the recent uptick in numbers and being a newly opened business, avoiding another shutdown for them is essential. “If all it takes is a little mask-wearing, wiping down surfaces and washing hands to keep safe and make everyone feel safe, it’s a small price to pay.”
The requirements may have changed, but the food and the vibe haven’t. The kitchen is churning out Americana like flattop-smashed burgers and loaded fries. To fight the heat, they’ve added ice cream floats and homemade spiked seltzers. Down the road they plan to have wine tastings, happy hours, small shows and even large touring bands.
Patrons can still hang out for events like game night, piano on the porch, and trivia in the open, outdoor seating and performance area — so long as they’re minding their social distance. A Chess Night every first and third Wednesday of the month just launched and soon to follow will be Trivia Night hosted by Jay Steiner every second and fourth Wednesday.
Savoy takes pride in the Hideaway’s commitment to following the strictest precautions. All employees are wiping every knob, table, chair and countertop with sanitizer.
“I can rest well at the end of the day knowing that we are staying open in light of Covid and paying our bills while maintaining safety to the highest degree” Savoy says.