"There's two inspirations," Melancon said. "Behind this restaurant is the small business incubator where we teach people to start and grow their businesses. Many people here are interested in the food and beverage industry, catering, food science--not a surprise with John Folse being near us."

A new business opened last week on Friday, October 12 in Donaldsonville. It is a "bruncheria," as Owner Lee Melancon calls it.

Named after Concetta Divencenzo Melancon, Lee's grandmother, the restaurant is nestled in the front of the old Bank of Ascension building. It is in the heart of the Historic District at 420 Mississippi Street, just around the corner from Railroad Avenue.

"This is a historic building, so we have to respect the nature of the building," Owner Lee Melancon said. Melancon is also the director of the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District. "I think most people know it here as First National Bank."

Melancon is conscious that he and his staff need to get comfortable in the space. While "Tootsie's" does not have all the luxuries of a full restaurant, they are serving tasty foods. Some are prepared by Chef John Folse.

"It's more of a bistro type, so the quarters are tight for us," he said.

While the kitchen area is quite small, the restaurant itself can hold a number of guests. If it gets crowded, overflow can move towards the back of the building into the MBECA space, which Tootsie's connects to. They will serve fresh brewed Community Coffee, and wifi is available. To-go food is also an option for patrons.

"There's two inspirations," Melancon said. "Behind this restaurant is the small business incubator where we teach people to start and grow their businesses. Many people here are interested in the food and beverage industry, catering, food science--not a surprise with John Folse being near us.

"This was originally supposed to be a practice facility for those who wanted to do that. Some plans changed due to our lack of finding a grant to do it. While we are not giving up on that, in the meantime we felt like it would be a good use to continue with the idea to give our people something unique."

Currently, the menu features eight sandwich options that are all named after people. Two of the three salads have proper names, as well. The third option is a Grilled Chicken Caesar. Sandwiches range in price from $8 to $11 dollars.

Maw Maw Tootsie's also serves breakfast. Hours of operation are currently Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed on Sunday.

"Seating capacity with the ability to produce timely function that meets guests' satisfaction is what we're more worried about today," Melancon said.

The restaurant will eventually hold a formal ribbon cutting with the Donaldsonville Area Chamber of Commerce. For more info or to check out the menu visit www.facebook.com/mawmawtootsies or call 225-264-6170.