It’s been a busy week for downtown announcements, starting with last week’s launch of Lyft rideshare services arriving in Shreveport which will make getting in and out of downtown for nightlife a much safer activity for those who don’t live down here already.
Before that, SALT (the food joint in the Shreveport Aquarium) opened for business too and is getting up to speed just in time for patio weather.
The Missing Link, which started as a food truck, has spent the last few months renovating a historic downtown building – making the conversion into a restaurant on the 500 block of Texas Street across from the courthouse. It’s on track for an opening in the next few months.
Now, two more eateries have been announced as being in the works for downtown:
Proud Mary 360° Grill – a name inspired by the Creedence Clearwater Revival track Proud Mary is a “Louisiana-style cuisine with a Creole flair” including oxtails, steak, po’boys, fried shrimp, salads, and more – according to an interview with head chef Cassandra Johnson (formerly of LaRouge Steak and Seafood) in an interview with the Shreveport Times. The restaurant will be located in the old MacArthur’s Steakhouse building in the Red River District, joining Fatty Arbuckle’s, Nicky’s Mexican, Bon Temps Coffee, Artipsy, and Fully Stacked Burgers.
“I have an affinity for urban living. No more suburban life for me,” said Michelle White-Lafitte, the spokesperson for Proud Mary 360°. “I like urban renewal and I’d like to have more of it in our city. There’s money to be made in downtown Shreveport. We have economic challenges throughout the state and local business brings people an opportunity to work with their neighbors.”
The second restaurant will be called Frida’s Bar & Grill and will be run by the owners of El Potrillo on Youree Drive. Frieda’s will feature Mexican and TexMex food and will focus on quality of service. Owner Hugo Torres who said he aims to have the spot, located in what used to be the Overtime Sports Bar at the corner of Spring and Travis St, open by December or January.
“Downtown has a lot of potential and a lot to offer,” said Torres. “There are so many reasons to choose downtown. We want to give people new choices with good food, good service. We think that when people can get those things, they will choose us.”
“Bringing a building eight years dormant back to life is a task” remarked White-Lafitte of renovating MacArthur’s restaurant. “When I first walked in there were cobwebs and the floor need to be redone – it’s a labor of love.”
No doubt. Rebuilding downtown has been a long and arduous task – like turning over an engine that has sat for too long. But the pistons are firing, and the vibrancy and excitement over downtown is only continuing to grow. With new apartments going in and new restaurants setting up shop, there’s little left for anyone claiming downtown is dead or dying to grasp onto any longer.
The challenge, of course, will be getting enough people to know that the options are available and not wussing out on trying them. Downtown is on the rise and it’s going to be worth your effort to get down here, become familiar with the streets and the food/entertainment spots. It won’t be long before you’re considering spending more time down here because, well, its awesome.