Crystal Lucas has brought a touch of Louisiana to Central New York.
Her new Papa Joe's Cajun & Soul Cuisine recently opened at 305 Burnet Avenue in Syracuse, succeeding the former Gentile's Restaurant which last year moved to 313 North Geddes Street.
The first-time restaurateur's menu offers such iconic Louisiana dishes as jambalaya, seafood gumbo with sausage, shrimp, crawfish and crab claws, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, and étouffé (shrimp or crawfish versions). In addition, the soul portion of the menu has such offerings as smothered pork steaks, ribs and fried chicken.
Although Lucas is a native Syracusan, she learned Louisiana cooking from her late father, Albert Joseph Brandon, a native of Baton Rouge, LA. She named her restaurant in his honor.
Lucas said she is overcoming the difficulty of getting a steady supply of fresh seafood in land-locked Syracuse by dealing with the local distributor Lorenzo Wholesale Foods.
The restaurant currently is awaiting a state wine and beer license.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m,. Tuesday to Friday; 4 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Phone: (315) 218-5070.