Lafayette's Music Room Returns to Overton Square

By Bill Dries

Some 38 years after it closed, the Lafayette’s Music Room brand is returning to a revitalized Overton Square.

Loeb Properties announced Wednesday, Nov. 20, Beale Street Blues Co. will open the space at 2119 Madison Ave. as a restaurant and music venue with a soft opening target date of the Fourth of July weekend.

Beale Street Blues Co. plans to bring the Lafayette’s Music Room brand back to Overton Square as a restaurant and music venue.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Beale Street Blues Co. is a 20-year-old Memphis company that books live music.

‘We’re just ready to move east a little bit. What we’re picturing is a Southern restaurant, live music seven days a week,” said Jack Phillips, director of retail operations for Beale Street Blues. “We’ll have two bands every day. Early on we’ll have kind of a trio or an acoustic set. … That will be kind of a quieter dinner crowd, all ages.”

The second set, Phillips said, will be a full-on performance featuring both local bands and touring acts.

“We hope to hook up with the Levitt Shell,” Phillips said of the nearby Overton Park venue. “Bands always look for two gigs in the same town and if we can be that second gig for them we are going to try to do all we can to do that. … And there are so many talented musicians in Memphis that don’t get seen by locals enough.”

It’s also a chance for Beale Street Blues to showcase music for an audience that will be much more local than the audiences that come to see the live music it books in the Beale Street entertainment district.

Lafayette’s will also have a more developed restaurant than its original incarnation did in the 1970s.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with chef, writer and restaurant consultant Jennifer Chandler collaborating on a menu featuring Southern cooking.

“We don’t want it to feel like it’s just a music venue,” Phillips added. “We try to provide a one-stop shop. It’s not just an in-and-out dining experience. You come to us and you hang out for a few hours.”

The old Lafayette’s featured nationally known musical acts including Barry Manilow, Kiss and Billy Joel as well as Memphis’ own Big Star. It closed after several years.

Bringing back the brand has capitalized on the nostalgia that Loeb Properties has encountered since its revitalization of Overton Square became more visible earlier this year after years of laying the groundwork for the return of the district as a theater district with a diverse mix of businesses.