Featured photo: Smoked Mahaffey Farms ribs are on the menu at The Levee, which recently opened for breakfast and lunch at 520 East Kings Highway in Shreveport.
Maybe it’s a sign of the ever-evolving nature of the restaurant scene in Shreveport-Bossier that the newest of many new restaurants to open at the tail end of 2016 offers vegan gumbo, yaupon tea (yaupon’s a native herb that is kind of having a moment) and local ice cream but doesn’t serve, for example, soda. The Levee, which just opened at 520 East Kings Highway in Shreveport, is not going to be everyone’s place. But the folks who enjoy it are going to really, really enjoy it. I don’t mind telling you that I’m one of those folks who’s going to enjoy it.
As soon as you step foot in the door at The Levee, you’ll notice how different the restaurant is from most local eateries. The modular furniture, which the proprietors built by hand and had covered with cushions by local fashion designer Cookie Dubois, is comfy and unusual. Just about everything at this restaurant, actually, is comfy and unusual. At the time of my visit, the restaurant was still awaiting an alcohol permit, but the owners were proud to show off an awesome mobile cocktail cart that they’re planning to roll around the small dining room, making seasonal craft cocktails. In the meantime, there are made-to-order citrus tonics ($3) and an outstanding hot apple-pear cider ($4).
The menu is seasonal and small, so definitely check in with them on Facebook before planning your visit. The aforementioned vegan gumbo ($4 for a mug, $6 for a bowl), a creation of local vegetarian and vegan chef Libby Patterson Smith, had a good, strong roux, and I loved it. Smoked Mahaffey Farms ribs ($13) were served over what’s called a slaw but felt more like a very spicy salad of local greens to me. The ribs were smoky as heck and cooked very well. As someone who prefers to eat locally sourced ingredients and loves barbecue, it’s exciting to see someone smoking locally raised meat.
My theory is that The Levee will shape up to be at least as much of a cocktail lounge for hip young professionals as it is a restaurant. The space itself seems designed to be used for the purpose of enjoying a drink and a snack with one or two friends. It’s small and quirky and will almost definitely inspire some very different feelings among different kinds of folks. But isn’t that sort of exactly what we need more of?
If you love this kind of local food content, consider downloading the latest edition of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s local food guide, Eat Here.