Dustin Staggers has a full plate. With the re-vamping of the Monkey Wrench's (two) menus, and the recent explosion of attention and work, Chef Staggers isn't stopping any time soon. His newest project will bring the taste of New Orleans to Louisville, in the form of Roux. The new restaurant will replace La Gallo Rosso in the Highlands.
La Gallo Rosso will close on July 26, and Staggers says he hopes Roux will open by mid-September. "We're just doing some general construction outside so we can have a patio in the front...I am overwhelmed and filled with a plethora, a copious amount of excitements. Excitements, plural."
What will Roux serve? According to Staggers: "The majority of our menu will be just classic New Orleans food. You know, people have the tendency to try and reinvent the wheel on something that's already fantastic...we're trying to pay homage to some of those classic places in New Orleans." Staggers continues: "We're going to have smoked duck and smoked chicken gumbo, very classic BBQ shrimp...we played around with a lot of rice recipes where we cooked it in a pan with red bean stock and crawfish butter, and it ended up so good it's going on the menu as a side."
Staggers says many restaurant supplies will come directly from New Orleans. “I’m getting my seafood from a couple different vendors in New Orleans. I’ve got a crawfish vendor our of New Orleans, I’ve got a French bread company to send me bread, I’ve got a couple oyster vendors.”
When asked what he was most looking forward to eating from Roux, Staggers responds: “Copious amounts of oysters. And the red beans and rice we made the other day with andouille sausage is the best red beans and rice I’ve eaten in my whole life. That’s no bias. It was the best I’ve ever eaten…we cooked the red beans in crawfish stock, and once the beans were done we took the beans out of the pot and added a whole bunch of sausage, and onions…we ended up mashing up the beans with a bunch of dry herbs, fresh herbs and sour cream. It texturally changed the red beans and rice and gave that hot-cold thing I tend to really like on my dishes.”
Roux will serve traditional New Orleans cocktails made with fresh ingredients: hurricanes, hand grenades and Irish coffee, “basically a frozen alcoholic milkshake” says Staggers. They’ll serve Abita beer, Sazerac, some wine, and some bottled beers that “generally fall into that New Orleans style.”
Staggers, and former sous-chef at Hammerheads Griffin Paulin will serve as executive chefs at Roux. Staggers will continue as head chef at the Monkey Wrench. Staggers's brother, Kyle, will be assisting in administration.