The Louisiana Cookery is putting their popular food truck into hibernation for the winter and focusing efforts on a new brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Mark and Amy Powlenko opened Nov. 1 at 1238 Walden Ave., making a run at injecting Cajun and Creole flavors into an old Cheektowaga neighborhood just before the cold sets in.
Located near the Walden Galleria, the restaurant is charming from the exterior. The bright red neon signage in their storefront that glows just below their bold blue banner highlights a few of their menu staples that I decided would dictate my order.
The Powlenkos have renovated the quaint interior of what most notably stood as the Quality Bakery in prior years to reflect their passion for New Orleans and its famous Creole fare. Fleur-de-lis-topped tables sit under a lifelike mural of the French Quarter that spans the width of the wall in their quaint new restaurant.
It’s clear The Louisiana Cookery has taken some insight from their successful beginnings as a food truck and are applying it to their business model in this new venture. The menu is manageable, and the food comes out fast.
The drink selection is a short list of housemade classics ($1.95) featuring lemonade, iced tea (sweetened and not), and a “half-and-half” combination of the two would have Arnold Palmer ditching his Arizona can.
The menu is an efficient tour de force of Louisiana favorites constructed atop the building blocks of shrimp, sausage and crawfish, paired with beans, rice and grits.
Pictured here is the jambalaya ($7.95) that came packed with andouille sausage and traditional vegetables in a savory Creole seasoning. The piping-hot swollen rice had absorbed the flavor of the surrounding components and served as a sticky catchall that delivered them in a hearty uniform bite.
The shrimp and grits ($10.95) were another Southern staple done right. Over the years I’ve developed a deep-rooted love of grits, and these in particular made their way on to my short list of favorites.
Hedging towards thicker than thin, as all great grits should be cooked, they came complete with a hearty sprinkling of bacon and scallion that provided a chewy and sharp contrast to the soft and cheesy grits. The shrimp were plump and tender, coated in the now familiar signature seasoning and come eight to an order.
Serving home-cooked rib-sticking Cajun and Creole classics at light speed, The Louisiana Cookery has captured all the magic of their food truck (which will be back on the streets come next spring) and given it a welcome home in Cheektowaga.
INFO: The Louisiana Cookery, 1238 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga. Phone: 390-1989. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday.