Hurricane-damaged Friends Restaurant to be replaced

Architect rendering of planned Lighthouse Restaurant in Madisonville
Architect rendering of planned Lighthouse Restaurant in Madisonville

Madisonville, La. -- A popular North Shore eatery, closed since Hurricane Isaac made landfall last August, will be reborn.

The owner of Friends Coastal Restaurant plans to tear down the building and replace it with an entirely new restaurant.

"The Lighthouse" will be four restaurants in one, according to majority owner Ryan Richard.

Architect's renderings show the signature feature of the building, a fully-functioning lighthouse on the Tchefuncte River in downtown Madisonville.

"The lighthouse looks like it's been there for 150 years," Richard said.

Blueprints call for outdoor dining, a restaurant and bar inside, new banquet facilities and "a beautiful bridal suite" on the fourth floor.

"If you want to eat on your boat, we're gonna come to your boat and take care of you right there," Richard told us.

While Friends occupied 7,000 square feet, The Lighthouse would be 30,000 square feet and, more importantly, elevated.

Richard, who said he has already lined up financing for the $10 million project, plans to employ close to 200 people.

The town of Madisonville is already known for its iconic lighthouse at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River.

However, Richard said he is not trying to duplicate the lighthouse. "It's going to be a different style lighthouse," he said.  "But it goes with this area."

Plans call for opening the restaurant in 2014.