At his Mid-City restaurant Katie's, Scot Craig mixes Creole-Italian standards with some different Italian-American influences - namely those from St. Louis, the hometown of his wife Stephanie Craig.
Now, the couple are working together on a new deli in Lakeview where regional Italian flavors will get more of the spotlight.
The deli will be called Francesca, after Stephanie's middle name. It's now taking shape at the former home of Koz's po-boy shop, at 515 Harrison Ave., and it's slated to open in May.
“She inspired me to do this,” Scot Craig said of his wife. “It’s our first business together and we’re really excited about what we can bring to this neighborhood.”
Now with a name and a focus, Francesca's menu is taking shape around a roster of Italian sandwiches, some fried seafood for po-boys and a few other specialties.
"It will have an Italian accent, but there will still be some New Orleans in it, obviously, considering where we are," said Scot Craig.
One signature will hark back to this Harrison Avenue building's earlier life as Charlie's Delicatessen, which was a neighborhood fixture before Hurricane Katrina. Charlie's marquee sandwich was called the moon, which loaded ham, roast beef, provolone, Swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing on a whole muffuletta loaf. Francesca's will serve its own version.
Italian subs, meatball sandwiches and Italian sausage will be in part of the program, Craig said, and pizza will be on the menu too.
These will be similar to the pies served at Katie's, some of which are topped with Provel cheese, a St. Louis obsession and another influence from Stephanie Craig’s side of the family. At Francesca, these circular pies will be sliced into squares, following the St. Louis style. Craig said he's also considering adding square pizza to the line up.
Francesca will be configured both for casual dine-in service and quick take-out for family meals at home, with grab-and-go cases for salads and sauces and other staples. The Craig's will apply for a license to serve beer and wine at Francesca.
515 Harrison Ave., projected to open: spring 2018
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