Although business is inching its way back to life in downtown Shreveport, few entrepreneurs brave the difficult task of opening a brand-new restaurant in these historic halls. The last such effort was made just over a year ago with the opening of Bistro To Go, which took the place of Good Eats in the Regions Tower. Not quite what one would imagine when thinking of a restaurant, and nothing particularly adventurous considering the previous restaurant there was of the same variety and at the base of the tower full of tenants, but it is delicious. Before that it was Catherine’s Eatery who joined the downtown fray in the old Sevendipity Cafe location not too far from the Caddo Parish Courthouse. Although if I’m being honest, cafeteria doesn’t really meet my definition of “restaurant” the way that it might others.
But now, my icy heart has begun to thaw with the announcement that a new restaurant is opening in downtown’s historic west edge, across the way from Rhino Coffee’s downtown location at the new Lofts@624 (still under construction) and less than a block from the Robinson Film Center.
Jason Brady, known for his accomplishments at Wine Country Bistro and the new Southern Fork food truck, has announced that he is bringing a new adventure to a small crevice next to artspace called Parish Taceaux (pronounced “taco”). I live just one block from the new spot and Brady was kind enough to let Heliopolis in his doors a little early to take a sneak peek. We started out in artspace, chatting about what he’ll be cooking up at this taco joint just feet away from where we sat, on the other side of a black tarp.
“Alright, what gives? T-A-C-E-A-U-X?” I asked.
“Parish Taceaux is, I guess for honesty’s sake, a gringo taqueria,” Brady admitted. “We’re taking a different spin.”
“Huh,” I replied, unsure of what to think.
“You know, there are others in our community who are doing classic taquerias, doing it the authentic way,” he explained. “Ki Mexico are dear friends of mine and they have a killer product. When you eat their food, you taste their family traditions and the soul they put into it.”
“So I guess that takes us right to it…” I had to ask, “What will you be doing instead?”
Brady sat back. “In my personal experience, you can put anything in a taco. I’ve always believed you could take leftovers and put it on a tortilla and it could be awesome.”
“Of course, we’re not doing leftovers. Point being, we’re going to try things. We’re going to keep people guessing with new stuff all the time.”
I love rotating specials. “What’s the scoop… Or dish, perhaps?”
“On the Louisiana side, think for example like a buttermilk catfish and chow-chow taco. We’re going to work with local farmers; like, we’re working on a pork belly taco. We want to do lamb tacos — and not all of them are going to have hot sauce on them.”
Personally, I’m hoping for boudin and other amazing stuff, though Jason didn’t specifically say that (as someone not originally from Louisiana, that this is pronounced BOO-dan is beyond me, like JER-din Street).
Brady brought me out of my southern food daydream/street naming nightmare to continue: “It’ll be fun, upbeat. An inexpensive place to eat, drink, be happy downtown. Catering to the lunch crowd, have a vibrant happy hour-esque, and early dinner. We are going to be operating on one menu all day long; it won’t be an extensive menu. We will have salsa options, but we won’t be a chips and salsa place. There will be table service.”
That’s great. I like where this is going. From there I just had to get in to see the space. In my mind’s eye, and from the street view, I expected a tiny walk-up stand like Smokin’ A’s at the Chase tower, but I should have known that Brady would never have taken on a project so small.
“Wow,” I said aloud.
As I walked through the threshold of the small door into the front of the space, I realized that the visage of the small crevice from street level belies a fairly large dining room space, considering the amount of square footage that they had to work with.
If you’re looking from the front door on the street, immediately ahead of you and just to the right would be a bar with televisions hovering above. To the left, a recessed seating area that features a large hole where a glass facade will be — allowing restaurant patrons to view the artwork as they eat, and the artspace guests to see into the restaurant.
The kitchen will be large enough to service the entirety of an artspace event while also keeping the burners hot for Parish Taceaux.
Mildly impressed, I pushed harder. “Yeah, well what else you got?”
Jason (we’re cool with first names now, right?) continued, “We’re going to do local beers, margaritas of course. We’re working on a bourbon-rita because I gave up tequila after a night in college.”
“We’ll also be open for a brunch on Sundays. A more classical taqueria brunch. We have a lot of fun ideas on that menu. On the schedule, it would be a Tuesday thru Saturday schedule, lunch thru early dinner, and then the brunch on Sunday.”
Yep. He just said brunch. Of course, my next question should be obvious at this point: When can we get our hands on all this?
“If all goes to plan, March 1st.”
What? That’s like 6 weeks away. This is as surprising as J.J. Abrams dropping Cloverfield 2 on us out of the blue. So soon? With other downtown developments taking longer than expected, it’s extremely refreshing to have an imminent opening. Downtown is getting really, really exciting right now. Living downtown the last two years has been awesome to witness, and Parish Taceaux is certainly a feather in the cap of this part of the city.
“I’ve always been intrigued and in love with downtown. I’ve always wanted downtown to blossom,” Jason pontificated. “We saw attempts that almost took off, but this project was a great opportunity to dip our toes in the water with some synergy with people we’re friends with – Rhino, Explore Yoga, and others. You should come by before we open and have a taste.”
Downtown? Ritas? Southern style tacos? Brunch? Early samples? You had me at helleaux, Jason.
Parish Taceaux will be at 708 Texas Street. We’ll keep you up to date.