Being in the same state as New Orleans, Baton Rouge and its restaurants tend to often get overlooked. In the recent years, many hot and popular restaurants have opened up in the capital city and The Overpass Merchant is too delicious to not spotlight!
The Overpass Merchant, located at 2904 Perkins Road, opened up in March of 2016 and took over Zee Zee Garden's, a beloved neighborhood bar, spot in Baton Rouge's Mid City. Masterminded by Nick Hufft (of Curbside Burgers fame) and partner Lon Marchand, The Overpass Merchant has become a fresh and innovative gastropub, all without alienating the Perkins Road overpass neighborhood. What is a gastro pub exactly? It seems the definition of a gastropub is a bar and restaurant that serves higher quality and high-end food and alcoholic beverages. That’s at least the definition we found on the internet and what we found from our meal at The Overpass Merchant.
The Overpass Merchant is conveniently located at the foot of the Perkins Road overpass with ample outdoor and indoor seating and is the perfect setting for a solo meal or a girl's night out. The patio is very open with lots of room and the interior is filled with large windows and anchored by a large, subway tiled bar. There is open seating with great music. The overpass is a little loud but not a deal breaker and not noticeable while inside.
The menu is simple, reasonably priced, and absolutely delicious. The menus are small but focused, with a few “snack” plate selections that are meant for sharing, with small and large plate offerings that are plenty for a meal. It might be hard to narrow down your choice, but prices are right for simple food that you’re going to want to keep all to yourself, or get a few plates and share. With a simple and clean menu, The Merchant serves lunch Monday through Friday, with a menu of 10 items or less. Dinner features a very sharable menu, which includes burgers, coconut shrimp tacos, and multiple small plates. The Merchant also offers a Sunday brunch menu, and a special "Late Night" menu which features Korean pork frites and chicken wings. For the full menu, click here.
From the small list of starters, or snacks, the frites are fresh-cut french fries that are served with a roasted garlic aioli. The cheese curds are deep fried and served with buttermilk ranch. The golden-battered chicken skins are everything you crave about fried chicken and are served crispy and warm, drizzled with a light touch of sweet and spicy honey and hot sauce on a large plate. It's rich and incredibly decadent and absolutely worth trying and splitting between a large table.
The Overpass Merchant offers probably the best burger in town and offers a daily lunch plate special for $8.99 and some lighter offerings that will get you back to work in the span of your lunch hour. All the salads are large and fresh. The coconut shrimp tacos on the dinner menu are served on a long board and plated for you to build your own tacos. The portion was easily enough for four tacos.
The Merchant is stocked with 12 taps which feature local breweries and the bar has an extensive wine list. The restaurant's specialty cocktails are what we recommend however! The Overpass Merchant Mule, their take on a frozen Moscow Mule, is a treat.
With new gastropubs springing up all around Baton Rouge specializing in bar fare and drinks, The Overpass Merchant is leading the pack. If you’ve tried Overpass Merchant, you’re probably already making plans to go back. If you haven’t given it a try, you should make plans to go soon, especially with this gorgeous spring weather.