Bet these po’boys will taste just as good under a roof. Photo by Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times
Where Ya At, Matt? Looks like Matthew Lewis, whose popular food truck of that name is “bringing New Orleans to the streets of Seattle,” will be in Fremont soon. He’ll keep running the city-wide Creole food truck, whose po’ boys and gumbo just helped it land on Smithsonian magazine’s list of the best in the nation. But he’s also signed a lease for the Fremont spot that once housed the beloved Buckaroo Tavern, planning to open a breakfast-lunch-and-dinner joint called Roux.
Lewis had been thinking for a while that “I’d love to put down some permanent roots so people could always find us,” he said. “It’s going to be nice to do beignets all day long (instead of the current 11 a.m.-2 p.m.), and to have some really nice Herkimer coffee to go along with it. It will allow us to do some of the cool signature things we’ve been playing around with.” (On the list: N’awlins-style chicory coffee.)
For lunch, he’s planning to have people walk up, place an order at the counter, and take a seat. Dinner will be full table service, with “a great upscale Southern comfort food kind of feel to it,” using local ingredients as he can fit them in. “I’ve had some good mentors down South,” he said, working with “amazing chefs and amazing people” like Chris Hastings and Frank Stitt, plus a few opportunities to work with another great influence, John Besh.
The Buckaroo space, a “landmark watering hole,” is getting a tenant who appreciates the history of its 73 years.
“It’s one of those places you find that actually has a soul to it,” he said.
“It felt very New Orleans to me when I walked in there. It has the age, it has the feel. It reminded me of some of the places I’ve walked into in the Garden District, on Magazine Street that I really like.” He’s planning on a family-friendly place with at least 75 seats, and says he appreciates having friendly neighbors like Brad’s Swingside Cafe, whose owner Lewis actually worked with a bit years back.
Another advantage he sees to the sit-down space: “The beauty of it is, (there) you can get beer or wine and liquor with (your meal), and be really New Orleans, or naturally New Orleans, as people would say.”
If all goes well, Roux will open in August. Want to get a feel for off-the-truck food even earlier? Lewis is hoping to do a series of “Soul Food Sundays” in other restaurant spaces to test out the dinner menu and bar program. Watch his Facebook page and Twitter feed for details. It’ll be more family-style dining, “sort of like if you came to my Granny’s house and had dinner after church.”