Restaurateur buys former bank branch

Wayne Stabiler, who owns several upscale restaurants in Baton Rouge and Central, has purchased the old Bank One building on Jefferson Highway for $1.45 million and plans to open a new eatery there.

Stabiler bought the property at 7666 Jefferson Highway from Sidney Coxe, said Mathew Laborde, an agent with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate. Laborde represented the seller. The 2,747-square-foot building has been vacant for several years, since Chase, which absorbed Bank One, closed the branch and opened a new location nearby in Towne Center.

Stabiler owns the Little Village restaurants and Le Creole in Baton Rouge, along with Stabs Steak & Seafood in Central.

David Trusty, an agent/broker with Gully Phelps & McKey, who represented the buyer, said Stabiler hasn’t decided exactly what he will do with the property, but “it will be a great restaurant.”

“This is in a wonderful area with great neighbors,” Trusty said. “He will do something really nice.”

No timetable is set yet for turning the empty building into a restaurant, but Trusty said Stabiler will act quickly. “Wayne will not dilly-dally.”

In the meantime, Stabiler plans to expand the building by enclosing about 2,500 square feet of drive-through space that is covered by the roof.