1910: Serving Local Food With Flair
When Chef Andrew Green of Prytania Private Dining was courting his wife in New Orleans, they indulged in the city’s rich culinary history as they fell in love. And now, years later, the local boy has come home to bring a bit of New Orleans flair to downtown Lake Charles in his new restaurant, 1910.
The name of the restaurant is an ode to the great fire of Lake Charles, which burned the city’s downtown in 1910, but was also something of a rebirth, taking it from backwoods logging outlet to a more cosmopolitan cultural center due to the careful planning of post-fire architects.
It’s that kind of care and planning that Green applies to his menu, hoping to make 1910 as much a rebirth for downtown dining as the fire was to Lake Charles’ city center.
"I’m just hoping to jump in there and keep the culinary bar set high for Southwest Louisiana,” Green says. "There’s no reason we’re not on the map from a culinary standpoint. Lafayette has achieved that, and New Orleans obviously has the crown, but I think we should be known as a place that has culturally relevant food.”
Green sees a weak spot in Lake Charles dining culture. The city has good Cajun food and nice upscale casual dining spots, but nowhere has he found a mix of the two. "I’m really struggling to find a place that has really good, culturally relevant food in Lake Charles,” Green says. "Ask somebody who has the best gumbo in town, and they say it’s at grandma’s house.”
But while Green hopes to nod to the town’s Cajun roots with his menu, he doesn’t define 1910 as a Cajun restaurant. Instead, he hopes to offer a New American take on many tried and true classics. For instance, instead of offering up "grandma’s gumbo” Green takes the ingredients for gumbo—rice, chicken and sausage—then makes and extra thick roux without any broth and fries the mixture into a gumbo croquette. The result, he hopes, will be like nothing his patrons have ever tasted before.
"We took local food and kind of refined it a bit,” Green says. "I don’t even know how we came up with this but me and a couple of my guys just said ‘Why don’t we do that?’ Before we knew it, we had this dish.
The restaurant will focus on serving wine to compliment its locally-inspired dishes, but it will also have a full bar. It’s important to Green that all his customers feel at welcome, whether they’ve come to 1910 for a romantic evening out over a shared bottle of merlot or a laid back affair with conversation over beers.
"I’m not going for a super fancy vibe, but I’m also not trying to make it all hip and casual either,” Green says. "I want people to feel comfortable in the space, and not like they should have dressed up or that they dressed up too much.”