City Group Hospitality’s newest Spoke & Hub opens this month in Mid City


First Look: Spoke & Hub, City Group Hospitality’s Newest, Opens This Month in Mid City

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect a name change at the restaurant. Restorers have decided that it will now be called Spoke & Hub, not Spoke ‘N’ Hub.

Dinner reinvented, a semi-secret speakeasy and a cycling-centric theme define the new Spoke & Hub, the latest City Group Hospitality concept. The restaurant is due to open later this month in the iconic building at the east end of Government Street, once occupied by Bistro Byronz.

It has been an active few years for City Group Hospitality. Since 2019 alone, the Baton Rouge restaurant group has opened Proverbial Wine Bar, Rouj Creole, a new City Pork location and purchased and rebranded Beausoleil, completing a growing universe of concepts that also includes City Pork Brasserie, City Slice, City Taco, City Pork LSU, 3 Little Pigs Cafe and a large restaurant division.

Spoke & Hub scratches a different itch, aiming to attract neighborhood families hungry for Saturday morning waffles, the cycling crowd and trend-spotters looking for a craft cocktail worthy of history at the trendy bar at the ‘back.

The Spoke & Hub team (left to right), City Group Hospitality Director of Culinary Operations Jeff Conaway, General Manager Matthew Heroman, Assistant General Manager Matthew Rogers, Executive Chef Kevin Anderson, Executive Chef Elisabeth McKinley, Sous Chef Dylan Landry and City Group executive partner Stephen Hightower.

The bike theme is the brainchild of City Group COO Jeff Conaway, a cycling enthusiast who saw the design as perfect for the location and the city’s slow but steady march toward better bike friendliness. The restaurant is, after all, accessible by bike via Capital Heights Avenue, which connects to those shiny new bike and pedestrian lanes on the western half of Government Street.

Arrive in cycling gear, if that’s your thing, and hitch your bike to the large bike rack set up outside. Read carefully the bike dealer hanging on the pegboard near the hostess stand. It includes fun stuff like tire repair kits that can be deployed outside at a designated bike maintenance area. Conaway wants the place to serve as, yes, the hub for cyclists, before or after the ride.

There are many different quadrants to experience at Spoke & Hub, including this chill-out area on the patio.

Executive chef Elisabeth McKinley, who has worked in several of the restaurant group’s concepts, runs the kitchen. McKinley trained at Johnson & Wales in Miami in both baking and baking, and those dual skills are part of the reason the restaurant features homemade breads and desserts. Kevin Anderson is head chef and Dylan Landry is sous chef.

The kitchen, says McKinley, is “a contemporary Southern restaurant.”

“We looked to make not only great food, but also comfort foods that people can relate to and have that sense of familiarity,” she says. “Foods that are still creative and kind of play on what we grew up with.”

A dessert bar offers homemade Southern cakes and pies and blizzard-style shakes.

The menu includes a crawfish pistol-inspired pasta dish made with house-prepared pasta, fried green tomatoes topped with Mornay crab, Gulf fish sprinkled with cracklin’, and a sloppy Thanksgiving-style sandwich drizzled with sauce. “Croffle” sandwiches feature slices of bread made with croissant dough passed through a waffle iron. Other items on the menu include a Reuben with house-made corned beef and burgers made with thin double pan-fried patties. The weekend breakfast menu features pancakes stuffed with crayfish, pancakes with a choice of different toppings, homemade sticky rolls, cookies and English muffins and homemade breakfast sausages.

McKinley’s baking experience informs the dessert bar, a soda fountain-like counter where homemade Southern cakes and pies live under glass domes, and where “Blizzard”-style shakes are made with leftovers from those same pastries. Conaway says he sees neighborhood kids pedaling for something sweet, which could also include McKinley’s dipped and sprinkled Rice Krispy treats. Later, their parents could go to the same bar for a beer milkshake.

Indoor and outdoor spaces are split into multiple quadrants for dining and sipping, including two separate patios, one with comfy sofas, a porch with doors that open in good weather, a row of cabins (separated by bands aisle) and groups of tables . Hardwood floors and an exposed shiplap ceiling make the space feel warm and cheerful. Movable type canopies above the dessert and main bar create a sense of whimsy and fun.

A row of stalls separated by lane strips signals the themes of cycling and dining.
The bar inside the main restaurant is perfect for enjoying a cold after a bike ride.

One of the restaurant’s most anticipated features is its speakeasy, Brakes Bar, located behind the restaurant. Conaway says City Group’s recently hired mixologist, Allen Walter, will expand the cocktail program here in the somewhat hidden lair, a stylish little spot whose vintage decor includes a mashup of glass vessels containing no-name restaurateurs.

Walter, who previously ran the Loa Bar at the International House Hotel, is nationally renowned for his cocktail creativity. He had advised City Group on its overall beverage program, but will make Brakes Bar his pet project, Conaway says. Spirit lovers can find him here, mixing up his brand of gender-defying intoxicants.

Matthew Heroman and Matthew Rogers are Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of Spoke & Hub, respectively. The restaurant opens later this month, tentatively around the 21st, Hightower says.

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