Friends Coastal Restaurant in Madisonville has been an abandoned building for close to two years.  Part of the problem for the seafood restaurant was the parking, noise and litter which hindered the nearby residents.  The community was not a suitable fit for the large restaurant.  Fortunately, the building along the Tchefuncte River was purchased by Greg Lala and Steven Guidry of Dixie RV SuperStores.

The proposal for the 27,0000-square-foot building to be renovated into a DixieRVSuperStoreRefurbishmulti-use complex was approved at Madisonville’s planning and zoning commission meeting on December 4, 2018. The new structure will include corporate office space and different types of eateries. Mayor Jean Pelloat is in agreement with Lala and Guidry.

“This type of mixed-use development with offices appears to be our best chance to get this building back into commerce,” Pelloat said.

The two business men plan to move their corporate headquarters to the building. The third floor will house the Dixie RV SuperStores CDixieRVSuperStoreorporate Headquarters while the remaining space will be for the eateries.  The second level will be an upscale restaurant and the lower level will be an open-air venue with casual eating served from Airstream concession trailers.

Unlike Friends, who hosted bands that play loud music late into the night, the new establishment will work under the town’s noise ordinance closing all food service no later than 10pm.  The first level open-air venue would stop serving food at 8pm and the music would not be amplified.

“This is not going to be a fly-by-night restaurateur,” said Lala, a St. Tammany Parish resident. “We don’t want to be Friends (restaurant). We want to be good neighbors.”

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