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Clesi's takes over Treo's kitchen 

A new Mid-City location will open in April

James Clesi (205-837-3103; www.clesiscatering.com) knows a thing or two about boiling crawfish. After popping up outside bars and at tailgating parties for several years, Clesi opened his Mid-City flagship adjacent to the Banks Street Bar in 2015. He left that location last summer to start working on two new concepts, including a spot at Tulane Avenue cocktail bar Treo (3835 Tulane Ave., 504-304-4878; www.treonola.com), which he opened last week.

  The bar's kitchen previously was home to Michael Gulotta's Italian concept Tana, which the chef closed recently to focus on his other restaurants. Clesi has taken over the kitchen and will have a grilling and boiling hub on the back patio.

  After the August 2017 floods heavily damaged Clesi's Banks Street space, he began looking for a new location, calling on friends and nearby bars in Mid-City.

  "Treo was on top of my list because they have that beautiful courtyard," Clesi says.

  The concept at Treo will be similar to Clesi's previous operation and will offer a spread of fried seafood options, jambalaya cheese fries, fried pickles, burgers, catfish and shrimp baskets, and crawfish and crab boils. New menu items such as shrimp and grits and gumbo also will appear, Clesi says.

  A new standalone location of Clesi's Restaurant & Catering is slated to open in April at 4323 Bienville St. It's a team effort by Clesi and his brother and sister. There will be a large outdoor space with room for parties and receptions, including a bar, televisions, picnic tables and a covered dining area. Clesi says the space will have a "backyard party feel," with a family-friendly atmosphere and his team will boil and grill food outside.

  The new restaurant likely won't open before April, but Clesi says he hopes to serve boiled seafood at the Bienville Street spot in time for the Krewe of Endymion parade Feb. 10. During the Carnival season, Clesi says he likely will have pop-up boils at bars on the Uptown parade route as well. He also hopes to launch a crawfish delivery operation.

  Clesi's team currently is boiling seafood and serving food at Treo from 4 p.m. until closing Tuesday through Sunday.

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