The team behind Causwell's and Popson's, the burger restaurant that opened just this week in Mid-Market, have told Eater that they will open a Cajun restaurant in the former location of Hapa Ramen (2293 Mission) this fall.
The project, which is yet unnamed, is the result of restaurateur Alvin Garcia's love of New Orleans' culture and hospitality, and chef/partner Adam Rosenblum's experience working as a sous chef under renowned NOLA chef Donald Link (Herbsaint, Cochon). Garcia hosted a series of Cajun-themed pop-ups and crawfish boils in the space last May, before it became a semi-permanent pop-up location for the now-defunct Citizen Fox project; when the opportunity for a full-time residency arose, Garcia jumped on it three weeks ago.
And with the addition of a fourth restaurant comes a new position for Rosenblum, who's been putting in major hours at Causwell's in the Marina, the new Popson's in Mid-Market and the temporary Popson's pop-up in Soma. He'll now act as the culinary director for the burgeoning restaurant group, designing menus and focusing on the food at a higher level across the board, hiring other chefs to helm the kitchens day-to-day.
The Mission restaurant will focus on Cajun fare, but is not intended to be a "top hits" list of the cuisine. Garcia says though there'll certainly be dirty rice, shrimp and grits and (probably) fried chicken, things will skew rustic with a bit of Creole influence: lots of pork, shrimp, rice dishes, housemade andouille sausage and the like. Cocktails will be simple, classic versions of New Orleans favorites, like Sazeracs, though Garcia says he definitely wants a frozen drink machine or two in the mix. "I care deeply about quality and execution," said Garcia. "But I really want the place to be casual, fun and exciting." Along those lines, Garcia and Rosenblum will head down to New Orleans for some marathon eating, drinking and researching to develop their menus.
To start, the restaurant will offer dinner, with the addition of brunch down the line. Plus, the possibility of casual, counter service lunch serving po'boys and gumbo is on the table, as well as a limited number of late-night cajun cheeseburgers and bar bites. And to top it off, there will be crawfish boils during the season (spring/summer), which can also be booked for large parties ahead of time.
The partners are aiming for an opening in fall of 2016, working with design company Arcsine to create a completely new look and feel for the former ramen spot. "We want it to be really special," said Garcia. "We want it to feel like you've gone somewhere."
Stay tuned for more details on the menus, space and opening date.