written by Cesca Janece Waterfield
photographed by Thomas Roberts
Mardi Gras may be over, but like the Saints, who pushed forty years to make it to the Superbowl, bon temps keep marching in. Perhaps nowhere in Richmond is this more evident than at Louisiana Flair. The Cajun restaurant has been open at 322 E. Grace St. only three years, but it’s built loyalty as steadfast as New Orleans itself. That doesn’t surprise co-owner Chef Nate: “When my customers come in, they’re like family,” he says. “When you come into my restaurant, you immediately come into my heart.”
Louisiana Flair serves Oyster Po’ boys, fried catfish and lake trout, cornbread, red beans and rice and more. On Wednesday mornings, they make fresh beignets. Their gumbo recipe is more than 85 years old, perfected by Nate’s paternal grandmother. Desserts include bread pudding with whiskey sauce and several kinds of homemade pound cakes.
“I guarantee everything in my restaurant,” Nate vows. “If you’re not 100 percent satisfied with it, I will buy it back from you, I’m serious. We are the only authentic Cajun restaurant in the state of Virginia.”
That’s a mighty strong statement, but Nate keeps rolling: “Anyone else is faking the funk.”