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Monday, March 9, 2020

WTF? Where's The Food?

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You don't have to look far to get your grub on

A new year means new goals, positivity and celebrations. As we roar our way into the ’20s, this year is off to an exciting start for the local food industry with new restaurant openings, changes for already established restaurateurs and events celebrating culinary success in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

One of the area’s most popular dining events of the year, 318 Restaurant Week, hosted by the Shreveport- Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau and its partners, will be held March 16-21. The goal of 318 Restaurant Week is to encourage locals and tourists to explore Shreveport-Bossier’s restaurant scene by offering promotional pricing, special menus and onenight-only dining experiences.

“We really want to highlight, lift up and celebrate all of the restaurants that are doing unique things in our community,” said Chris Jay, content marketing manager for the tourist bureau.

The event strives to highlight restaurants with a local identity, and the types of restaurants participating in this year’s event range from very casual eateries to more upscale restaurants.

To get involved and explore the local restaurant scene, follow 318 Restaurant Week on Instagram at @318restaurant and help 318 Restaurant Week share Shreveport-Bossier’s culinary offerings by using the hashtag #eat318. For complete details and list of participating restaurants, please visit www.318restaurantweek.com.

318 Forum is joining the community-wide celebration of local restaurants by spotlighting news and changes in the local food industry.


Chef Blake Jackson

421 Texas Street Shreveport, LA 71101

Chef Blake Jackson has expanded his culinary expertise and passion for event planning to downtown Shreveport with his recent venture, Chef Blake Jackson at 421 Texas. Jackson has taken over the direction of all culinary, beverage and event programs in the historic building with exciting plans for the future.

“It’s still an event venue, and we’ll be hosting plenty of private events throughout the year, but what we want to use the space to do is really bring some pop-up restaurant concepts just for a couple days at a time to really change things up as far as what we offer,” said Jackson. “We also really want to get further into bringing back old-school dinner theater with plated meals and live bands, comedians and those kind of things.”

Jackson also owns Drake Catering and Whisk Dessert Bar in the South Highlands neighborhood. After building an impressive resume with 10 years of experience in the local culinary scene, Jackson is looking forward to expanding his creative pallette.

“I think overall my career has shown that I want to continue to push to bring new, cool stuff to Shreveport, and I think this is just continuing part of that plan,” Jackson explained.

The space at 421 Texas Street can house 350 people standing and 250 people seated, which not only allows Jackson to bring his product to a large number of people but also the space to offer a variety of different events.

Chef Blake Jackson at 421 Texas is accepting tours now for private events with the first ticketed events slated for April and May of 2020.


Zuzul Coastal Cuisine

1370 E 70th St.

Shreveport, LA 71105

If you find yourself craving something truly unique to the area dining experience, then look no further than newly opened Zuzul Coastal Cuisine. Chef Gabriel Balderas and his wife and business partner, Brooke, offer a menu that focuses on responsibly sourced, seasonal seafood in an atmosphere with an upscale, coastal Mexico vibe.

The fresh cuisine is inspired by Chef Balderas’s coastal Latin American upbringing, and the presentation of each dish is truly exquisite. Although the restaurant is centered around serving seafood based on seasonal availability to ensure the highest quality, there are options of other proteins on the menu.

The Balderases also own El Cabo Verde in south Shreveport, which has steadily gained in popularity since its opening three years ago. Zuzul Coast Cuisine is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.


Bayou Deli & Casserole Shop

637 E Kings Hwy.

Shreveport, LA 71105

One year after moving back home to Shreveport, John Holland and his wife, Kim, decided to take a leap of faith – opening a restaurant in the building that formerly housed Deli Casino. Bayou Deli & Casserole Shop has officially opened its doors to share the Holland family’s love for cooking and customer service with the Shreveport-Bossier community. The deli menu features several popular favorites from Deli Casino per the request of longtime customers, as well as newly developed sandwiches named after Louisiana bayous.

John Holland’s love for cooking started at home preparing meals for family gatherings, long before the decision to turn his hobby into a business. His recipes, especially his casserole dishes, were popular and highly regarded among family and friends. When the couple ventured into the food industry, the decision to incorporate John’s casseroles into the restaurant concept was a no-brainer.

Bayou Deli & Casserole Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, and the menu features a hot daily casserole special with a side salad and choice of bread. All casseroles are offered frozen for take-and-bake.


Ralph's Place

1173 Louisiana Ave.

Shreveport, LA 71101

Ralph’s Place is now open for business in Shreveport’s historic Highland neighborhood serving American breakfast and lunch. It is the second business venture for local chef Robert “Bozz” Baucum, who also owns popular sister restaurant, Marilynn’s Place. Ralph’s Place is named after Baucum’s father, and serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to Ralph’s Place employee Destiny Kenly, the newest restaurant venture for Chef Bozz maintains a steady stream of customers due to its convenient proximity to downtown businesses and nearby hospitals. The atmosphere is laid-back and casual with jazz music playing from the speakers and artwork by local artists displayed on the walls.

Popular items from the lunch menu include the hot roast beef sandwich, Ralph’s muffuletta, white beans and rice with two fried pork chops, and red beans and rice with smoked Andouille link.

Ralph’s Place features Rhino Coffee, daily specials and beignets served all day.



Bella Fresca

6307 Line Ave.

Shreveport, LA 71106

Family-owned restaurant Bella Fresca celebrated 20 years of fine dining and drinks in Shreveport with a throwback menu of customer favorites during the latter weeks of February.

The restaurant has remained a local staple since its opening in 2000 by original owner and chef David Bridges. Ownership of Bella Fresca changed hands when husband-and-wife restaurateur team Zoran and Sanela Tomic purchased the restaurant in 2008. Currently, the executive chef is Jason Kohler.

Even after two decades in business, Bella Fresca hasn’t changed much over the years due to the dedication of the Tomics to maintain the original essence of the restaurant they frequented before they were owners, and the requests of loyal customers.

The fine dining experience at Bella Fresca is truly unique with all pasta made in-house, as well as rotating daily and weekly specials. In addition to the full-service bar with happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Bella Fresca offers an impressive wine list with options exclusive to the restaurant.

Streetcar Snoballs Food Truck

6307 Line Ave.

Shreveport, LA 71106

When Erica Gilliam moved to Bossier City, her beloved hometown of New Orleans continued to live in her. For the past two years, Gilliam has shared a taste of her vibrant culture with the Shreveport-Bossier community through her New Orleans-style food truck, Streetcar Snoballs.

Snoballs are a New Orleans staple, and Gilliam quickly noticed her favorite sweet treat wasn’t available in the area. A snoball is made with finely shaved ice, flavored with sweet syrups and topped with options such as a condensed milk drizzle or stuffed with ice cream.

The snow cones offered throughout North Louisiana are different because the ice is coarse and crunchy.

Snoball season takes place from March to October, and the Streetcar can be scheduled for public, business, school and church events, festivals, private parties and more. Follow Streetcar Snoballs on Facebook and Instagram for updates on public events. To schedule the Streetcar, please contact streetcarsnoballs@gmail.com.

Participating Restaurants

• Abby Singer's Bistro 
• Bella Fresca 
• Biscotti's at Lewis Gifts 
• Bistro Byronz 
• Bistro to Go (Lassus St. location) 
• Bon Asian 
• Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro 
• Copeland's of New Orleans 
• Cork & Barrel 
• Dillas 
• Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos Bossier 
• Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos Shreveport 
• El Cabo Verde 
• Fat Calf Brasserie 
• Flying Heart Brewing & Pub 
• Frank's Louisiana Kitchen 
• Frank's Pizza Napoletana 
• Gibbons Fine Grill 
• Giuseppe's Pastacaffe 
• Glenwood Tea Room 
• Jacquelyn's 
• Jan's 
• Louisiana Smoke House
• Lowder's Bakery 
• Marilynn's Place 
• Market 104 
• Monjuni's on Louisiana 
• Noble Savage 
• Parish Taceaux 
• Pizza Rev 
• Ralph's Place 
• Real BBQ 
• Red Barn Crawfish 
• Retro 521 Coffee and Café 
• Rotolo's Craft & Crust of Shreveport 
• Stem Events 
• Sunshine Health Market & Cafe 
• Sweetport 
• Tee's Southern Eatery 
• Tejas Kitchen 
• Tempo Eatery 
• The Greenhouse Salad Co.
• The Landing Catering 
• The Port Grill 
• The Three Don's 
• Twisted Root 
• Uneeda Taco 
• We Olive 
• Well Fed 
• Whisk Dessert Bar 
• Wooden Spoon 
• Zuzul Coastal Cuisine

ON STANDS NOW!

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