Crying Eagle breaks ground on $12M lakefront investment

Crying Eagle Brewing Company broke ground on their second location on Thursday afternoon.

Crying Eagle Lakefront — a $12 million investment — will be a family-friendly, full-service restaurant and microbrewery with 12,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space, and a clear lakefront view.

The new location is one of the major players in Lake Charles’ lakefront development efforts, and was first announced in October 2019 as one of the developments alongside the rehabilitation of the old Harrah’s parking garage and highly anticipated Port Wonder.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the groundbreaking was a celebration of the community’s resilience and tenacity, as those major lakefront developments faced delay following the pandemic, increased construction costs and local weather events of 2020 and 2021.

Eric Avery, Crying Eagle Brewing Company president, seconded Hunter’s sentiments and called the groundbreaking “momentous.”

“It perfectly describes what today represents, a day that will long be remembered as one that helped shape the future of Lake Charles. Four years ago, many of us stood right here … a lot of people put in a tremendous amount of hard work and time to finally bring where we are today to life.”

The location is ideal to drive tourism into Lake Charles due to its proximity to the lake and the Intestate 10 corridor. Avery believes this will be beneficial for the city’s cultural and economic health.

“As Crying Eagle Lakefront rises from these shores, I am confident that the activity with Port Wonder and the other developments that come will usher in a transformative era brimming with optimism, ambition and hope for a bright future.”

Hunter said it is “very appropriate and inspiring” for the first lakefront restaurant to be locally owned, and that it will be “something that could not be duplicated anywhere else.”

The ceremony served as a full-circle moment for Avery. He and his family’s original vision for Crying Eagle included a space on the lakefront. During the restaurant’s conception, however, that placement wasn’t a viable option.

“Back then, I was much, much younger, I had a concept and idea that wasn’t proven… but all things work for good. Regardless of whether it happened then, it happened the way it was supposed to happen. So today, we celebrate a totally different concept than what I originally wanted to build here in the first place.”

Crying Eagle Lakefront will be lively, engaging and “marketabley different” than the McNeese Street location. It will offer connectivity to other establishments built on the lakefront, and will feature both indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and a waterfront to-go ordering station.

To synergize the restaurant with the lakefront view, guests will have an array of seafood-inspired dishes to choose from during their visit. Additionally, Crying Eagle Lakefront will offer a different drink menu and unique lager-focused beer options for guests.

Thanks to the passage of state Sen. Jeremy Stine’s bill SB 450 in 2022 — legislation that allows microbreweries to transfer finished beer to different locations — the beer made at the original Crying Eagle location on McNeese Street will be able to be transported to the lakefront location.

The restaurant and microbrewery is slated to open in the spring of 2025.

The original Crying Eagle — located at 1165 E. McNeese St. — opened in 2016 and serves over 20,000 customers annually.

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