Right smack dab in the middle of 318 Restaurant Week 2019, I caught up with Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins while he and several of his staff were having lunch at Real BBQ and More. Mayor Perkins, who describes himself as a foodie, is an enthusiastic supporter of the promotion, which began on March 18 and runs through March 23. I took the opportunity to pick his brain about a whole host of food-related topics including his favorite restaurants, stuffed shrimp, crawfish, and more.
“When I travel, the first thing I do is ask someone ‘Where’s the food that’s unique to this city?’,” Mayor Perkins said. “318 Restaurant Week really allows us to focus in on our homegrown restaurants.”
The Mayor’s favorite meal is a crawfish boil, so he’s pretty happy at the moment, as we’re finally seeing huge crawfish in Shreveport at reasonable prices. He’s strictly a crawfish, corn, and potatoes man – no mushrooms, onions, or garlic cloves in his boil, please. When crawfish aren’t in season, his go-to spots include Pizza Rev, Bella Fresca, El Mono, Whisk Dessert Bar, Cat Daddy’s, and Orlandeaux’s Cafe. Asked if he has a “Shreveport comfort food,” he enthusiastically names the potatoes au gratin at Silver Star Grille on Ellerbe Road or a steak from Anthony’s Steak and Seafood.
“When it comes to a dish that began here, stuffed shrimp is a dish that Shreveport can claim, it’s a dish that’s ours,” he said. He’s excited about the Shreveport Stuffed Shrimp Festival, which’ll be taking place at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
He’s also excited about what’s happening in Shreveport’s Madison Park area, where Ki Mexico and Marilynn’s Place already attract crowds of diners and the highly anticipated new Ono’s Hawaiian Grill is preparing to open. A tight grouping of popular restaurants like those three can transform a nondescript intersection into a dining district, he said, and “help with the identity of the neighborhood while empowering other neighborhoods to do the same.”
Mayor Perkins is interested in eating farm-to-table, whenever he can, and would like to see it become more of a lifestyle in Shreveport. He enjoys The Levee for its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
Like any respectable Shreveporter, the Mayor has a preferred snow cone stand: Rainbow Sno, which is located just across the street from Southern Hills Park & Community Center in Southwest Shreveport. Myself, I’m a Kalona Kones person with a penchant for the occasional visit to Tim’s Southern Snow.
Mostly, I appreciated the fact that Mayor Perkins appears to deeply appreciate the ability of food to unify communities. Real BBQ and More, he said, is a great example of that. “(Real BBQ and More owner) Harvey Clay is known on both sides of the track,” Perkins said. “The food and the service here are so good that he’s uniting the two sides of town.”