Wanting to visit New Orleans but haven’t yet?
Thanks to a trio of Lexington restaurateurs, you can get a taste of Bourbon Street on Short Street in Lexington. Last November Cajun- and New Orleans-inspired cocktail bar Creaux (creo) opened at 310 West Short St., in the space formerly occupied by Table Three Ten.
Creaux is owned by Stephen Scaldaferri and Ieasha and Dougie Allen, the later a lifelong Lexingtonian. For Scaldaferri and Dougie Allen, the bar is a long-shared vision come to life. The two first met in 2000 while attending the University of Kentucky, where both played football — Scaldaferri a kicker and Allen a wide receiver — and majored in hospitality management and tourism.
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Allen, who has additional restaurant experience as a franchise operator with Papa John’s, says the idea for a New Orleans-inspired bar came from discovering his own love for the Big Easy through many visits over time.
““When Ieasha and I first started thinking about what to do with this space, New Orleans immediately came to mind,” Dougie Allen said. “There’s tons of bourbon bars in town and rightfully so, but we wanted to do something different. Everybody enjoys New Orleans culture, so we wanted to bring a bit of that to Lexington.”
Creaux delivers on the festive flare with a slew of special cocktails including the Hurricane, a New Orleans favorite featuring passion fruit juice, Bayou light and dark rum, Amaretto and Grenadine. Other drink menu favorites include the Sazerac, Pimms Cup, and Creaux lemonade.
According to Allen, the objective with the bar has been to establish a foundation with the drinks before beginning to expand and highlight the food menu, which they’re now ready to do.
“Our plan is not to be a restaurant,” said Allen. “We plan on adding items here and there, but the goal is to keep it small and focus on being a bar that happens to have a few food options as well.”
Topping Creaux’s growing food menu is chicken and sausage gumbo, which won the bar a People’s Choice Award for Best Entree at the 2018 Taste of the Bluegrass. Joining the gumbo are shrimp etouffee, southern-style hot links, shrimp and grit cakes, lobster beignets, and creole meat pies, which is a flour shell rolled with seasoned ground beef and thrown in a deep fryer.
While Creaux first opened primarily as a cocktail bar with a handful of festive food options, it has acted quickly to incorporate music as well, following positive feedback from booking a band to play during their grand opening on Nov. 3.
Thus “Big Easy Fridays,” featuring the jazz and big band music that New Orleans is known for was born, which has since expanded into regular music on Saturday nights along with an occasional Thursday show. In addition to music, Creaux also hosts hip-hop artist Devine Carama’s Poetry in Motion, Lexington’s longest running poetry open mic at over 10 years on the first Tuesday of every month.
The bar also hosts private events, with Lexus of Lexington recently booking the space for an event during the Barbasol Cup and the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce for a welcome reception to kick off an annual city tour.
Whatever you classify Creaux as, one thing it has been is a melting pot of culture and diversity in the heart of downtown, a result that Allen says was one of he and his partners’ primary goals with the watering hole.
“We saw this as an opportunity to bring something different to downtown, bring a space that really celebrates diversity,” Allen said. “When people are here it’s a very mixed, diverse crowd and everybody enjoys themselves and has a good time. That’s one of our main visions, to bring a business to Lexington that is marketing diversity.”
IF YOU GO
What: New Orleans-style bar, with limited but growing food options.
Where: 310 West Short St.
Hours: 4-midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 p.m.-late Fridays and Saturdays; happy hour 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays.
Live music: Fridays and Saturdays
Signature drink: Hurricane — passion fruit juice, Bayou light and dark rum, Amaretto and Grenadine