How COOL is this. Thank you Jan for helping us share the story of Artmosphere.
THe Food of Love Places to hear music while you dine
By Jan Risher
photograph by Mixie Photography
Acadiana is known for its great food and great music. Finding local spots that serve up delicious fare and have a live band in the corner or on stage down front is a win-win.Artmosphere
902 Johnston St., Lafayette
Back in 2003, when Beryl Kemp first opened Artmosphere, she was hoping to create a cool place for creative expression. Artmosphere has become that and so much more. With a commitment to “very intentionally diverse” music, as Kemp describes it, she’s also focused on delivering excellent food choices.
Lately, she’s put even more attention on the food in order to keep her license as a restaurant. In Louisiana, restaurants must prove that at least 51 percent of their sales are food related, and no more than 49 percent are alcohol. Artmosphere’s commitment to good music and its relaxed environment that feels more like a living room makes it conducive to staying a while and having a drink or two. So, Kemp has ratcheted up the energy on the menu and started a public relations campaign to keep the community aware that Artmosphere starts serving food every day at 11 a.m.
She’s also launched a line of healthy juicer drinks and a calendar full of daily specials, including an impressive Sunday brunch option.
“Tuesday, build your own burger,” she says. “Also, our pizza is really popular. Traditionally, for years and years, the up in smoke wrap was our most popular item. We have a grilled vegetable mix with caramelized onions, zucchini, carrots and more. We cook it twice and put it on a pizza, sandwich on pita or in a salad.”
Combined with a variety of fresh herbs, the grilled vegetables in a variety of forms have turned out to be one of the most popular things Artmosphere has done lately. She says Artmosphere is doing a lot more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
“I’m personally attuned to that kind of food and have learned that you can eat really delicious food – that’s also good for you,” she said. “When we first opened, we did food that was kind of radical that doesn’t sound radical now, but I don’t think people were ready for it. We’re adding more unusual food combinations and trying to buy more and more local produce. It’s easier to do now with more local meat and produce people officially approved vendors.”
With live music ranging from Americana, classic rock, Cajun, zydeco and its legendary Tuesday open mic night, Artmosphere has a loyal music following.
“We’ve been hosting open mic night for 11 years,” Kemp says. “Every Tuesday night, it starts about 9 p.m. and is now hosted by Andrew Toups.”
Kemp says the restaurant is also doing its best to encourage people to come earlier on weekdays.
“We’re starting music earlier,” she says. “Every day, I get here thinking I’ll go home earlier and stay because the music is so good. In my own heart, I hope people feel like Artmosphere is a place where people can feel at home when they go out. It’s kind of a funky, relaxed atmosphere full of positive energy. When people come here, they’re here to hang out and enjoy the art.”