When Nacheaux chef and owner Anthony Brown visited New Orleans for the first time, he went to the tourist staples — Cafe Du Monde, Commander’s Palace. It wasn’t until he visited with his wife, Nacheaux co-owner and Louisiana expat Stephanie Brown, that he got a real feel for the place. “I went to New Orleans twice before I met my wife — I’m not a huge partier, I went for the food — but when my wife brought me there, it was a completely different experience,” he says. “She’s a local, you get treated like family. You have a concern, a problem, you just want to chitchat, somebody there is going to give you that attention.”
Brown has family roots in Mexico City and Atlanta, from which he pulled much of his inspiration for the blockbuster Mexican-Southern mini-restaurant, Nacheaux. But while designing specials and building menus, Brown often found himself drifting out of Atlanta-Southern culinary style into Cajun-Creole traditions, smothering fries in étouffée and frying beignets for brunch. Stephanie, on the other hand, has been handling most of the child-rearing after giving birth in May. So in September, the two will open a new business as an ode to her roots: Bourbon Street, a “speakeasy-style” bar and restaurant, will specialize in Louisiana staples through Brown’s off-the-wall lens, with things like beignets, gumbo, seafood boils, and Sazeracs.
For those unfamiliar, Nacheaux started as a Southeast Portland food cart before moving into the Alameda Hop, a tiny food hall in the former Alameda Brewhouse space. Bourbon Street will be in a tiny room off of the main dining area, accessible only by a code interested parties can find via the restaurant’s incoming Instagram. Inside, customers will find a dining space with dark oak floors, a bar, and a hanging chandelier, in which they can order an array of quintessential Cajun-Creole dishes through Anthony Brown’s lens — the étouffée will be available as its own dish or as a poutine, for instance, though some dishes will be bona-fide Louisiana fare. That’s partially because Stephanie Brown loves the true-to-form Creole standbys, while Anthony tends to get a little experimental. “When I made gumbo and I put cilantro in it, she almost lost it,” he says. “You can’t put me in a box, (but) this is my gift to my wife — we’re going to do traditional things.”
Beyond the food, Anthony Brown is particularly excited about Bourbon Street’s bar. Before opening Nacheaux, he had never worked as a chef — he was a bartender, primarily, shaking and stirring at places like Screen Door. But while the bar will have those New Orleans classics that appear at many Southern restaurants — Sazeracs, French Quarters, gin fizzes — the cocktail menu will be very specific to Bourbon Street alone. For example, the restaurant will serve a spiked watermelon lemonade with pickled watermelon rind and a dehydrated watermelon rim, as well as a cocktail-ified version of elote with clarified corn-infused bourbon. “I don’t want my identity to be lumped into this place I worked; it takes away from my creativity,” he says. “The ingredients will be different, the garnishes will be different.” The bar will also serve tiki standards like hurricanes, and non-alcoholic options like sun teas and lemonades.
Bourbon Street will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but during that period, the space will be set aside for pop-ups, from seafood boils to hand-made pasta nights. It’s another opportunity for Anthony and his sous-chef, Jackson Hallenburg, to explore other cuisines and play with new ideas. “(Hallenburg) kind of elevates my homestyle cooking,” he says. “The pop-ups give us an opportunity to dabble in the kind of culinary experiences that we don’t have to be tied to with Nacheaux and Bourbon Street. It’s a multifaceted kind of place.”
Bourbon Street will open at 4765 NE Fremont Street, Suite B, in September.
• Nacheaux [Official]
• Nacheaux [Instagram]
• Breakout Food Cart Star Nacheaux Will Soon Open a Restaurant [EPDX]