Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: For Coda co-owners, its all about the experience
- 2013 - 845 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
- December 2008 - 146 articles
- December 31st, 2008 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- December 30th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 8 articles
- December 25th, 2008 (Thursday) - 8 articles
- December 24th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- December 23rd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 7 articles
- December 22nd, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- December 21st, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- December 18th, 2008 (Thursday) - 10 articles
- December 17th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 8 articles
- December 16th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- December 13th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- December 11th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- December 10th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- December 9th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- December 7th, 2008 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- December 6th, 2008 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- December 5th, 2008 (Friday) - 10 articles
- December 4th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- December 3rd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- December 2nd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- December 1st, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- November 2008 - 147 articles
- October 2008 - 232 articles
- September 2008 - 189 articles
- August 2008 - 126 articles
- July 2008 - 147 articles
- June 2008 - 111 articles
- May 2008 - 147 articles
- April 2008 - 141 articles
- March 2008 - 125 articles
- February 2008 - 135 articles
- January 2008 - 111 articles
|For Coda co-owners, its all about the experience|
Standing in one of the oldest buildings in Monroe, Steven Dollar can look out and see all the possibilities for the city's downtown.
Dollar and his business partner, Jay Howell, recently opened their new bar and grill, Coda, at 101 N. Grand St., in the J.S. Bloch building.
Dollar and Howell grew up in West Monroe. Dollar was quarterback for the 1996 West Monroe High School state championship team, which also featured LSU standout Tommy Banks. Howell played on West Monroe's 1993 state championship football team.
For Dollar and Howell, Coda is a new beginning in their young lives and a venture they hope will spark more interest in downtown Monroe.
They spent three years remodeling the building, and opened the restaurant just two weeks ago.
Dollar takes pride in remodeling an old building, which has been vacant for 30 years, and returning it to commerce.
"It's the second oldest building in Monroe and that's something we're proud of, for sure," Dollar said. "When people come in, they're blown away by it. A lot of people don't realize there's architecture and things like this in Monroe."
He's also proud of being part of Monroe's downtown revitalization process.
"We've remodeled this so people can come and see what potential we have down here in downtown Monroe," Dollar said. "The city and mayor have been absolutely wonderful helping us get things going here. It's a huge task trying to get a building like this back together."
Dollar realizes, though, that the project he and his partner undertook represents just one project in what is expected to be a long process in revitalizing downtown Monroe.
"We're just one piece of the puzzle," Dollar noted.
He said a good foundation of people who work in downtown Monroe already is in place. With the art galleries and other businesses located in the downtown area, he believes the future is bright.
"We have places here where people work, live and now we have a place for them to eat and entertain themselves … once you start putting more retail here and coffee shops, it will draw more people in and they can spend their day here, eating and shopping," Dollar said.
"That's what it's going to take to get downtown going," Dollar explained. "It's going to take a lot of work, but anything that will pay off in the end takes a lot of work. The city is working hard with a friend of ours, Dr. Matt Sanderson, who is actually a huge part of this downtown process.
"Hopefully over the next three to five years, you'll see the landscape of downtown change to where we have a boardwalk, more restaurants, more shops. Believe me, we don't want to be the only restaurant down here.
"When other businesses come and set up shop on the riverfront, it's only going to help us and help the community. I envision downtown being an entertainment and arts district. It's something Monroe doesn't have … we have some great restaurants and entertainment destinations, but they are spread out all over town. We don't have one central district for the arts, entertainment and music. Downtown is the perfect place for that."
Dollar admits he and his partner have taken a risk in opening a restaurant like Coda in the downtown area. He believes it will involve others taking similar risks to bring life back into downtown.
"Yes, there's a risk in trying to start an establishment in downtown," Dollar continued. "But on the flip side, the landscape, the architecture and all these buildings … if you just put a little bit of love into them, you can create something like this. And it will draw people, and not just people in Monroe. People in every town are looking for something unique and fun to do."
Dollar is focused on helping spur more activity in downtown Monroe. He believes it has the potential to become a great cultural Mecca where people from all over the region will want to visit, shop and dine.
"Monroe and West Monroe are towns where there's such a gap of what is offered and what people want as far as entertainment," he said. "That's what we want to provide … a cool place for people to come and have great food. If they want to stay till 2 a.m. and listen to a band, they can."
Dollar believes as more businesses, arts and entertainment locate in downtown Monroe and West Monroe, the two areas will begin to draw people from all over the South. He says people move to places and start businesses in areas where there is good quality of life, and that includes offering arts, entertainment, music and other social activities.
"I think Monroe is catching on to that," Dollar said. "We have an opportunity right now where we can build our own culture and have something unique to downtown. We have an opportunity to really get a hold of that tourism industry and that entertainment industry and make a district with hotels and things for people to do.
"It's all about synergy, and getting everyone on the same page. We're not going to attract a big car manufacturer here if there's nothing for people to do. I think we can make that happen, and over the next 10 years, we'll see some major shifts in Monroe as far as tourism, hospitality and entertainment."
Many in the state complain that Louisiana's bright young people are leaving for other destinations. Dollar said they are going places looking for jobs, but they also want to live in a place where there is something to do, such as entertainment venues, art galleries, theater and unique businesses and restaurants.
"The thing about Monroe is we're starting to get to a point where we see the potential," Dollar said. "Ever since I was in high school I also believed there was nothing to do in Monroe and I couldn't wait to get out of town. But the older I've gotten, I've realized that Monroe is a special, unique place, and it's great to come back and really start something. I plan on being here for the rest of my life."
Dollar, who received a master's degree in hospitality from the University of New Orleans, believes Coda will be a unique venue that will attract people to downtown. It may even encourage others to open their own unique businesses.
He said Coda is all about the atmosphere. He said the people will enjoy the food, but he thinks the atmosphere at Coda will be its big draw.
As far as food, some of the best sellers so far have been Coda's duck and gravy po-boy, catfish taco and the fried pork chops.
"We've had a lot of people say the pork chops are the best they've ever had," Dollar said. "We just want to provide that Louisiana southern cuisine in a great atmosphere."
Coda's downstairs features a bar and grill, while upstairs, there's more of a laid back atmosphere with a wine and appetizer bar.
"It's a little more laid back on the weeknights, and on the weekends there's a good energy and vibe," Dollar said. "Downstairs we're trying to brand ourselves as a legitimate music venue and restaurant. Upstairs we want to put a piano or small jazz set where people can just come upstairs and hang out. This concept is kind of new to Monroe as far as a wine bar.
"There's definitely some great restaurants around town with a nice wine selection, where you can eat and enjoy yourselves. But, here, it's all about the experience. Here you can come in downstairs and eat a hamburger steak and listen to a live rock band, or you can go upstairs and drink wine, hang out and listen to some soft music. It's kind of both worlds."
Coda opens at 11 a.m. every day of the week. A daily lunch special is offered Monday through Friday.