Ruffino’s Renovations – A Treat For Lafayette and Dream Come True For Ruffin
Ruffino’s On The River is getting a make-over and promises to bring an even better atmosphere. Ruffin Rodrigue, Jr. became the owner of Ruffino’s in 2000 and he created the warm and welcoming atmosphere in the Italian-Creole restaurant. He did that by pouring his energy, love, and hospitality into the Baton Rouge and Lafayette locations. Our community was heartbroken when Ruffin passed away at the age of 53 on November 25, 2020. One of his dreams and last wishes was to renovate the restaurants and now that dream has come to life.
Before we get to the exciting changes, let's talk about how the renovation process began. Megan Klock, Director of Business Operations at Ruffino’s, said that prior to the coronavirus pandemic causing a shut-down, she and Ruffin spent a lot of time discussing how they could “freshen up” both the Baton Rouge and Lafayette locations. Unfortunately, all of that was put on hold because of Covid-19.
While the Lafayette location was not open to guests, they did some minor things including refinishing the bar top, updating the Camellia Room, painting, and professional cleaning, and many other things they noticed more than the customer would. Then Hurricane Delta hit and did some major damage to the restaurant’s exterior, including ripping off the entire sunroom, leaving them shocked.
That’s when Ruffin met with Kyle Braniff, of Braniff Construction, to discuss repairing the damage. Klock said what was meant to be a conversation about repairing and replacing the damage, quickly turned into making bigger changes. That’s when Ruffin shared his dreams by saying, “I’ve always wanted to do this.”
They started construction in November. Klock said they hoped to be completed by the end of April, but they’re at the mercy of material availability and shipping. With Covid and all the damage from hurricanes, the project hasn’t been easy.
So what do we get to look forward to with this renovation? Klock said the sunroom will be the most beautiful spot to dine in Lafayette. She said it will also be a hot spot for private parties. They’ll have 9-foot double-hung windows which means they’ll be able to open them fully for an outdoor dining space and they’ll be able to close it up completely for inclement weather. They’re adding a beautiful LaCantina door in the bar that will open up to the sunroom. The roof will be a red metal roof. Klock said the color is called Caliente, but Ruffin called it Casablanca Red. He said the manufacturer gave it the wrong name. Yes, I’m laughing as I type this. I can just hear him saying that with his big contagious smile.
Chris Muffoletto, General Manager, has appropriately named the sunroom, ‘The Ruffin Room’, since this is Ruffin’s vision and dream for the beautiful room.
My favorite part of the renovation is the rock garden where you’ll be able to enjoy live music, cocktails, and dining on the river. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
I miss him and I get emotional sometimes, but I know he is super proud of what he sees going on. – Megan Klock
As far as the menu goes, there are no big changes at this time. I mean, why fix what ain’t broke, right? Klock did say that they have several things in the works but it will have to get passed their taste-testing panel that was hand-selected by Ruffin himself.
The Baton Rouge location had a complete remodel on the interior. Although they aren’t 100% done, they have reopened today.
Klock said that she and Alison, Ruffin’s wife, are so happy that Ruffin’s dream has come to life, with the help of Kyle Braniff. Speaking of coming to life, Ruffino’s slogan is “Where Louisiana comes to celebrate life.” That’s exactly what Ruffin would want you to do when you’re at Ruffino’s.