Southern Plus, Vintage Style
To understand Lou’s Full Serv it helps to know that owner and chef Louis Larose stained the wood counters, built the hostess stand, and crafted the bar tops. He even built the steam-punk-style brass lamps, side tables and other unique decor and furniture.
“I knew I wanted a warehouse, industrial, vintage, wood-meets-metal and concrete feel,” Larose says.
Larose—who has always gone by “Louis” (said like “St. Louis,” not like “Louis Armstrong”)—says that, somewhat against his will, many have called him “Lou” over the years. The nickname stuck enough that he decided it was a good fit for the restaurant’s retro name and vibe.
The “Full Serv,” he says, is a reference to the box he checked when applying for permits: “full service.” Aside from fitting the theme, the name also helped differentiate Lou’s from the previous tenants. The location most recently housed a counter-service pizza joint; before that it was a drug-store-style soda fountain and grill for many years.
Now, it is a stylish, curated, “casual fine-dining” restaurant that Larose hopes is family-friendly, welcoming and reliably good.
“’Southern plus’ is what I call it,” Larose says when asked about the menu. “It’s approachable Southern/American cuisine … no weird terms,” he adds, smiling.
“Approachable” does not mean boring—the dishes are certainly foodie fare, with small plates such as the Crawfish Fondue or the Shrimp Crunch (with a sweet-pepper slaw), and main plates like the bronzed Redfish with buttermilk whipped potatoes and corn-pepper hash.
“People expect locally sourced ingredients in high-quality food at a decent price,” Larose says. He notes that while he changes things up four to six times a year, favorites like the #7 Burger (with candied bacon and smoked tomato-bacon aioli) are permanently on the menu—by popular demand.
Larose emphasizes that you need both delicious food and excellent service for a restaurant to be successful. (Lou’s Full Serv passed the all-important two-year mark in the fall of 2016 and is set for more growth in 2017.)
“People want to get good food, be treated well and be thanked for coming,” Larose says. “I look for staff members who like to come to work everyday and don’t mind smiling.”
Larose works the line himself most nights plating meals and expediting orders, while his wife, Victoria, manages the front of house. He is proud that the majority of his staff has been with the restaurant since its September 2014 grand opening.
Lou’s Fine Dining takes reservations and accepts walk-ins for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Carlyn Hicks, founder of Jackson Foodies, lover of all things culinary, pro-Jackson advocate. All opinions expressed in this post are the opinions of the writer and not necessarily those of Sipp Jackson.
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