Featured photo: Gabriel Balderas will open a restaurant this fall in South Shreveport’s Provenance neighborhood.
Gabriel Balderas is having a really interesting year. Named to Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s “Chefs to Watch” list for 2016 (six chefs are featured each September; past groups have included folks like Cory Bahr in 2011 and Isaac Toups in 2014), Balderas has continued to build a following with his pop-up dinner series, appearances at farmers’ markets and occasional classes and cooking demos around town. In the September 2016 issue of Louisiana Life magazine, Balderas will be profiled in the “Great Louisiana Chefs” section.
In an Aug. 1 Facebook post, he shared the news that the restaurant location of El Cabo Verde (the name under which he’s been serving food and creating organic salsas since 2015) will be opening this fall in South Shreveport’s Provenance neighborhood.
Balderas recently showed me around the space, which is under construction. His wife, Brooke, is “planning the look of the place,” which formerly housed a coffee shop but is large enough to accommodate an intimate restaurant. There appears to be room for seating for approximately 40. There are polished concrete floors. Furniture will be made of reclaimed wood. There’s a small patio. A display kitchen is planned, as well as a tiny bar. Patrons seated at the bar will be able to enjoy a tasting menu, which is exciting news given Balderas’ extensive background in fine dining.
El Cabo will not be a fine dining restaurant. This may come as a surprise to local food lovers who’ve attended the El Cabo Supper Club events. With the restaurant, Balderas is aiming to feed a broader group of people.
“I want a mom with three kids to be able to come in and be comfortable,” Balderas said. “We’re not doing any tablecloths. The menu will offer Louisiana seafood, steaks, enchiladas, quesadillas – all made with our from-scratch philosophy.”
The sourcing of ingredients is also something that he takes seriously. Balderas said that all ingredients used in the restaurant will be either “seasonal and regional” or “sourced with integrity.”
“I want the customer to know exactly where the ingredients that I’m using are coming from,” Balderas said.