OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If you didn't get enough of Mardi Gras last week, don't worry. You can get all your New Orleans favorites year-round right here in Omaha.
In this week's Cheap Eats, 3 News Now Anchor Serese Cole takes us to a metro restaurant that promises authentic New Orleans flavor.
The Benson area has a lot to offer residents in the metro. Now you can add a Creole cafe to the list.
Lee Franklin Jr. owns A Taste of New Orleans. He was born and raised in Louisiana and moved here after Hurricane Katrina.
"My mom moved out here with my brother, and I didn't know nothing about Omaha, Nebraska, but I couldn't go back to New Orleans, so she convinced me to come up here and I loved it," Franklin smiled.
The only thing missing was the food.
"I asked about the different Cajun restaurants, and I went to the favorite everybody bragged about and I tasted it, and I'm like I got to open a restaurant out there (in Omaha) because if they think this is good, they are going to love what I cook," he chuckled.
So, he started his Cajun cooking, first in a food truck. He's now at 60th and Maple where he shares the space with Ted and Wally's.
It's where you'll find him doing what he does best: whipping up authentic New Orleans food like gumbo and jambalaya.
"You can't go wrong with nothing on this menu. I stand by that. I tell everybody if you don't like your food, bring it back, get your money back," he said.
One of his signature dishes is the shrimp and grits.
"How good are your grits?" asked Serese.
"It's my grandma's recipe, so I say it's the best I ever had," said Franklin.
The shrimp and grits are the special every Thursday but don't be late.
"If you don't get here by six, it's over with... come early or don't come. That's the best way to say it," he laughed.
He also makes a mean Po Boy sandwich.
"What's the key to a good Po Boy?" asked Serese.
"The bread. You need good French bread. That makes it," said Franklin.
On top of that toasted bread, there's lettuce, pickles, Cajun fried shrimp and his secret Who Dat sauce.
You can also get a combo basket.
"This is one of the best sellers. It comes with two pieces of catfish and 10 Cajun fried shrimp," Franklin said.
And if you have room, order the beignets. You can get plain or peach cobbler.
Lee said watching people savor his Cajun cuisine is the best part.
"When they get it, they look at each other like it's amazing. You can see it in their face, you know. Every time they always give a thumbs up, high five, say best they ever had, so that just keeps me inspired to keep doing what I do," he shared.
Sharing his Big Easy dishes with his new neighbors in Nebraska.
"I feel like I'm sharing a part of me with Omaha," he admitted. "Ain't nothing like New Orleans, but Omaha is my home now.
Thursday is the shrimp and grits special. It's 20 dollars. You can get his cajun alfredo Tuesdays and Fridays.
The Cajun Shrimp Po Boy is every day for 15 dollars.
Follow A Taste of New Orleans on Facebook for their daily specials or you can stop by the restaurant anytime Tuesday through Saturday at 6023 Maple.
Go to atasteofneworleansomaha.com for more details or (531) 721-5685 to place an order.