While a good number of Clevelanders are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bourbon Street Barrel Room (2393 Professor Ave.), nobody is more tickled by its imminent opening than chef-owner Johnny Schulze. The protracted process has been more than two years in the making, with construction stretching a solid 12 months.
“I’m so excited,” Schulze says about the opening, now pegged at mid-October. “It’s gone from ‘this is taking forever’ to ‘I’ll just forget about it for a while’ to ‘wow, I can’t believe how nice it is in here.’ Every time I walk in there I’m like ‘I can’t wait.’”
The bulk of the delays can be blamed on the herculean task of transforming the modestly appointed Asterisk Gallery space in Tremont to a full-service bar and restaurant. The glacial permit-acquisition process certainly didn’t help either. But the results, reports Schulze, are more than he could have imagined.
“When this all started, I didn’t expect the restaurant to be such a really nice place,” he confesses. “It was practically rebuilt.”
You might know Schulze, a Baton Rouge native, from his Big Easy-inspired food truck Zydeco Bistro, which dispenses soul-satisfying dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish etouffe, barbecue shrimp, red beans and rice and other Cajun and Creole classics. All these dishes and more will be served up at Bourbon Street — though not quite in the same fashion.
“This is all food I’ve been selling off the truck, but the presentation is nothing like what I’ll be doing at the restaurant,” he says. This is still comfort food, he assures us, it’s just that the attractive setting demands a stepped-up approach to plating.
The 100-seat space will feature a bar dispensing Sazeracs and Hurricanes, served up in the customary tall, curvaceous glass.
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