The Bayou

The Bayou, located at 117 Butler St., closes Wednesday after service. The owners are focusing on a new entertainment space and restaurant called Lagartos on the east side. 

MIKE DeVRIES — The Capital Times file photo

The Bayou, a 7-year-old New Orleans-themed restaurant on Butler Street in downtown Madison, will close after service on Wednesday. 

Dale Beck owns the Bayou as well as Murphy's Tavern and the Locker Room Sports Bar. His girlfriend, Jessica Miyazato (known as Miya), is a general manager, server and bartender who has been with the restaurant since it opened in 2009.

The couple will be focusing on Lagartos, a restaurant and entertainment venue on 802 Atlas Ave. off Cottage Grove Road at Highway 51. 

"We're tired, and we opened another location," Miyazato said. "We've got young kids, and one needs special attention."

Lagartos has been running entertainment, such as DJs and Latin Dance Nights, for about six weeks, and open three as a restaurant serving sandwiches, burgers and both Mexican and "fusion" platters.

The Bayou has a small staff, and some like chef Freddy Carcano have already moved over to the new space.

The Bayou opened in March 2009 at 117 S. Butler St. In a positive review one month later, 77 Square restaurant critic Chris Martell called it "charming and fun." 

"A menacing crocodile skull presides over the well-stocked bar," Martell wrote. "Green wooden shutters evoke the French-inspired architecture of the old Crescent City, and zydeco music adds cheerful vitality." 

The restaurant had developed a loyal following over the years. 

"We have such a loving clientele," Miyazato said. "If you go on Facebook, it makes me cry every time I look at it. I know every single one of them.

"The nighttime stuff we had going on, that makes me sad too. They made this a home, these musicians on Monday night." 

Both the Bayou building and concept will be put up for sale. A buyer could keep the name, or not. 

"It has to be someone who has time," Miyazato said. "I think maybe a few changes or a few tweaks ... who knows?

"Everybody wants to live the dream. They don't realize the dream includes 70 to 90 hours a week. If you have children or plan on having children, that's never gonna happen." 

Lagartos Restaurant is currently open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Since 2008, Lindsay Christians has been writing about fine arts and food for The Capital Times. She loves eating at the bar, going to the theater, fine wine and good stories. She lives on the east side with her husband, two cats and too many cookbooks.