Two restaurants aren't enough to keep Suzanne and Roger Perry busy. And then there is the couple's love of New Orleans.
So before Labor Day, the owners of Datz
plan to open Roux
, their homage to New Orleans cuisine and the French quarter. Roux is at 4201 S. MacDill Ave., at the St. Croix Plaza, within a mile of Datz and Dough, also on MacDill.
A trio of chefs are collaborating on a menu described as Creole-nouvelle.
Suzanne Perry says collaboration defines New Orleans cooking with its centuries of Cajun and French influences. And most recently a flavorful dash of Asian has been added in deference to a city that now has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America.
"We just love it," says Perry. "It's the most foodie city in the United States. We want to bring a little bit of that here."
A newer, fresher spin will be put on old New Orleans favorites from gumbo to etouffee to alligator. Po boy bread with a delicate crust and soft inside will be authentic New Orleans.
, formerly executive chef at Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg, is working on the menu with Toni Hayes, who specializes in Cajun cuisine, and Laura Schmalhorst, who is consulting on French dishes.
Designer David Jackson
is creating a New Orleans' feel to Roux with mirrors, marble-topped tables, wrought iron and brick accents, gas lanterns and chandeliers. "It's ornate," Perry says. "It's visually the French quarter."
To begin, Roux will pour beer and wine. And, within a few weeks of opening, Perry says a New Orleans craft cocktail bar also will be open for requests.
Roux seats more than 100 guests. Initially lunch and dinner will be served with a brunch to be added later.
Roux and more has been on the Perrys' minds for awhile.
"We've been interested in having a collection of concepts up and down the MacDill corridor," she says. "A space became available that we liked. So, we took it."
MacDill Avenue is home to Datz and Dough as well as new boutiques, a yoga studio and art galleries that are laying a foundation for revitalizing one of the city's main commercial roadways.
"All it takes is a couple people to come in and invest," Perry says. "We're invested because we live here. This is our neighborhood. A little bit of investment brings other people."
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Suzanne Perry, Roux, Datz and Dough