With faux balconies, lanterns and a brick walkway leading to the registers, Orleans Seafood Kitchen's tribute to Bourbon Street is hard to miss. Owners Chance Comstock and Marcus Payavla want to give their customers the Louisiana experience, all the way down to the authentic dishes on their menu, some of which come from Payavla's great grandmother's New Orleans kitchen repertoire.
"Food comes first," Comstock said. "You have to have the flavor—most people think Cajun food just means adding a bunch of flavors and salt—but you have to infuse those spices."
All menu items are originals from Comstock, Payavla and family recipes, with gumbo and etouffee topping the list of customer favorites.
"We are a scratch kitchen—we make everything from scratch and don't store buy cocktail and tarter sauce," Comstock said.
The owners started working together in 1994 at a big-box seafood chain, and when the opportunity arose, decided they wanted to open their own establishment, Comstock said. Orleans opened April 7, 2008, at 20940 I-10, near Westgreen Boulevard, Comstock said. It was during a time when there was little to no development north of the freeway. It was a challenging start for the two friends, but he said their timing proved to be a key to their success.
"I was nervous about the location, but in the end it helped us because when all the big chains started coming after us, we were able to have already established ourselves in the community," Comstock said.
Orleans is a family friendly restaurant with various specials for children and seniors, and it also features a bar and patio. Comstock said they are in the works of building an oyster bar where customers can watch chefs grill fresh oysters—a request he said customers often make.
The biggest challenge for the duo has been adjusting to what Comstock calls "Katy's eating schedule," where "everyone eats at the same time." The restaurant sees its rush from 6:30–8:15 p.m., he said, and he is working to promote more business during lunch hours for balance.
Comstock said his two key principals for success, however, remain communication and employee satisfaction. After five years, it seems to be working, as the restaurant has garnered a loyal local following.
"In the restaurant business you really only get one shot," Comstock said. "You really have to impress people."
Gumbo—a choice of seafood or chicken and sausage and served with garlic bread. $4.49 (cup), $6.49 (bowl).
Fried seafood combo platter— customer's choice of any two medium fried seafood items, including crawfish, stuffed shrimp, regular shrimp, oysters and catfish. Served with french fries or dirty rice. $15.99
Crawfish etouffee—Orleans' version of a Creole classic dish served with dirty rice and garlic bread. $8.99 (medium), $12.99 (large).
Bread pudding—the Orleans twist on a favorite. $4.49
At the bar
Orleans' full-service bar also features nine TVs for watching sports. Happy hour runs from 3–7 p.m. and features discounted frozen drinks, wine and domestic beers.
Daily drink specials include:
Monday— $12 beer buckets (six beers), $5 Hennessy
Tuesday—$4 well martinis
Wednesday—$5 Crown Royal drinks
Thursday—$5 Long Island Tea
Sunday—$4 Bloody Mary
Sundays families with church bulletins can receive a 20 percent discount
Tuesdays senior citizens receive 20 percent discount
Wednesdays children eat free
Orleans Seafood Kitchen
Mon.–Thurs.: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sat.: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.