Last Spring, I spent a month or so looking into the origins of Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp, a unique style of stuffed shrimp made popular by the historic Freeman & Harris Café (which, at one point, was the oldest black-owned restaurant in America) and, later, Pete Harris Café. That story, “Secrets in Shreveport: The Stuffed Shrimp Legacy of Freeman & Harris,” ended up running in the May/June 2013 issue of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine. While the story definitely didn’t solve the mystery of who created the famous stuffed shrimp recipe, it did give me a great opportunity to meet and get to know about a dozen people with special insight into this topic. While I was interviewing the late Chef Orlando Chapman (of Brother’s Seafood), I met Chapman’s brother, a cook who I only know as Pinto. Pinto, who previously cooked at Brother’s Seafood, has just opened his own restaurant, a no-frills seafood and soul food joint called Down South Cajun Seafood at 273 E. 70th Street in Shreveport (former location of Louisiana Seafood & Pho Saigon).
On the Down South Cajun Seafood menu, you’ll find those intriguing Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp ($12.60 for 3, which is a full serving; $22.50 for 6) and tartar sauce, as well as daily plate lunch specials, seafood platters, po-boys, burgers and more. There’s a signature burger called the Sandra, which is topped with grilled onions and hot peppers ($7.50), as well as chicken livers fried or smothered by the dozen ($7 a dozen), fish platters that include buffalo, trout and catfish, dirty rice, ham fried rice ($5.25/$8.25) and more.
Down South Cajun Seafood is clearly a new restaurant just getting started. When I visited, there were only a few tables, and they appeared to be intended as a place to wait for your to-go order. Everything is served in take-out containers.
Daily plate lunches are $7.80, and are as follows (as of April 2014):
Monday – Chicken fried steak or beef tips
Tuesday – Smothered pork chop or smothered hamburger
Wednesday – Baked chicken w/ dirty rice or chicken fried steak w/ rice or mashed potatoes
Thursday – Fried chicken or smothered chicken
Friday – Buffalo fish, baked turkey and dressing or BBQ ribs
Down South Cajun Seafood hours of operation are: 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun.-Thurs.; 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. The restaurant’s phone number is (318) 861-3300.
Good food & Good people.
My group used to tour Louisiana in the 1980s and 1990s. Every time we performed in Shreveport we made an effort to die at Freeman and Harris cafe after the gig. I have an old photograph of us sitting at the table with Pete Harris. I also remember having conversations with mr. Freeman. The last time we dined there we took a group photograph to bring home to our bass player who had to retire due to the birth of his daughter.
Will you send me a copy. Freeman was my maternal grandfather.