• VooDoo inks deal to join booming Baton Rouge development

VooDoo BBQ & Grill, a chain of fast casual barbecue restaurants, is opening a unit in Perkins Rowe, a popular mixed-use development in Baton Rouge.

Company executives signed a development deal Monday with Brad Smith and Joe Scardino, who already co-own VooDoo BBQ's Drusilla Lane location in the Louisiana capital. The Perkins Rowe location will be the third in Baton Rouge and the 12th in Louisiana.

"We've been aggressively expanding in other states this year, but this is a great move to shore up our solid foundation in our home state," said VooDoo BBQ CEO Tony Avila. "Perkins Rowe is a unique development with a tremendous amount of foot and vehicular traffic and potential for even more, so we're excited about this new store."

Smith aims to open the unit by the end of February.

"Joe and I had always looked for an opportunity to open another location that was local and close by," he said. "With all the new development planned at Perkins Rowe, we thought it was a perfect time to open there."

The development opened in early 2008, near the busy intersection of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard. Perkins Rowe has more than 300 condominiums and apartments, offices, space for more than 60 restaurants and shops, a book store, grocery store, pharmacy and movie complex.

The VooDoo will occupy space next to the movie complex, positioning it perfectly for the pre- and post-movie crowd.

"We expect we'll do really well," Scardino said. "Fast casual restaurants are perfect for a quick but satisfying and affordable meal. People who want to eat before the movie or right after will be able to walk right out of the theater and right into our VooDoo."

VooDoo opened its first location in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day 2002 and has expanded to reach 57 planned locations in six states.

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