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New businesses take over the Lower Garden district 

  The French Truck coffee roasters will set up a walk-in shop in the Lower Garden District; the owners of Sylvain plan to start serving food at their new Barrel Proof bar across the street; and the Courtyard Brewery is now only about two months from opening, business owners say.

  French Truck houses its coffee-roasting operations in the Erato Street warehouse where Courtyard Brewery plans to open, but its wholesale operations and new presence in area groceries mean the company has outgrown the space, owner Geoffrey Meeker says. Next month, he says, the business will move into a building at the corner of Magazine and Erato streets — painted the same yellow as the company's signature delivery trucks.

  The new location will include roasting operations and a small retail store and coffeeshop where customers can buy French Truck cold brew and beans while watching the roasting operation in the back, Meeker says.

  "A lot of places sell our coffee, but we don't really have a place where you can just come buy a pound from us," he says. The shop will be styled like a European walk-up coffee bar for people on the go.

  Courtyard Brewery microbrewery and tasting room is moving rapidly to an opening in mid- to late-August, according to the microbrewery's owners Lindsay Hellwig and Scott Wood, who attended a meeting of the Coliseum Square Association June 16. They have obtained federal approval for the brewing operations and completed the plumbing work necessary on the Erato Street warehouse. They also received unanimous approval from the City Council.

  Wood and Hellwig had thought live music by unamplified, three-person ensembles would be included in their alcohol permit, but have gotten mixed responses from city officials on whether that is the case. For now, they won't pursue the music, they say.

  At the same intersection, Barrel Proof opened in mid-May in the building that previously housed the Bridge Lounge. Owners Robert LeBlanc and Liam Deegan say they are focusing on craft beer and curated whiskey selections, and acknowledged their decision not to allow dogs or smoking inside has been "unpopular." But LeBlanc says they made the decision because they plan to open a small kitchen, "hopefully as early as August."

  "It'll be something along the fast-casual line," LeBlanc says. "It will be curated by our chef from Sylvain, Alex Harrell. It's not a sit-down, formal restaurant with traditional wait staff. It'll be more counter service."


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