Sally and Russell Davis' first restaurant, Eliza Restaurant & Bar, quickly became a Baton Rouge favorite after it opened in 2016. The casual, contemporary Creole restaurant on Jefferson Highway in the Bocage area isn't necessarily reinventing the wheel, Matthew Sigur wrote last year, but it does "take what we love about Southern food, adds a few flavorful and different touches, and then delivers consistently with great service."
The Davises now want to use a similar approach on another Louisiana staple: the po-boy.
JED's Local Louisiana Po'Boys recently opened farther up Jefferson Highway in Mid City. The po-boy shop is in the 2,000-square-foot space formerly home to MJ's Cafe.
The Davises have said JED's is inspired by the po-boy shops of New Orleans, and they would like the restaurant to serve as a neighborhood establishment for Mid City. The space is modern and airy, with big windows, and casual: It's counter-service, and po-boys and crinkle-cut fries come out on metal trays or wrapped in heavy butcher paper for to-go orders.
"We pride ourselves on simple, honest cooking," Russell Davis said. "Eliza is a little bit more of an elevated experience. Here, we're primarily serving po-boys, which we love — it's the greatest sandwich in the world — and it's more casual. So we get the opportunity to do things like homemade chili, to do cheese fries, to do a slow-cooked roast beef po-boy."
The menu at JED's Local is split. There are the classic po-boys, like fried or grilled Gulf shrimp ($7.95 for an 8-inch or $10.95 for 12-inch), fried oysters ($11.95/$16.95) and smoked alligator sausage ($7.95/$10.95). And there are some interesting specialties, like a Cuban ($8.95/$11.95), Banh Mi ($7.95/$10.95) or the Cochon & Slaw po-boy, which uses shredded pork, coleslaw, pickles and a Creole mustard spread ($8.95/$11.95). Po-boys are served on Leidenheimer bread and come dressed.
Along with fries and chili, the sides menu includes fried green tomatoes ($5.95), Creole coleslaw ($1.95) and a shrimp and alligator sausage gumbo ($3.95). There are also a handful of seafood platters, salads and daily plate specials Monday through Friday. And there's a bar with draft beer, wine and a small number of signature cocktails.
"We've always wanted to do a po-boy shop," said Sally Davis. "They're on every corner in New Orleans, and those are fun little spots. They're usually neighborhood-driven. And we thought Baton Rouge needed something like that. There are plenty of po-boys, but not necessarily a neighborhood joint that's loose and casual."
They wanted Mid City to be that neighborhood. The family lives in Old Goodwood, the Mid City area is centrally located and filled with young families, and with so much activity going on in the area, "we wanted to be a part of all of that," Russell Davis said.
JED's Local Louisiana Po'Boys
672 Jefferson Highway
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
(225) 349-8333; jedslocal.com