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After east aspect restaurant closes, KC Cajun drives again to its meals truck roots


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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Esra England is hitting the streets once more, he shared.

The pinnacle chef and founding father of KC Cajun lately closed his mounted location on the east aspect, and is returning to the meals truck and catering technique that gave him his begin.


Diners view the menu on the KC Cajun meals truck throughout from the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas Metropolis; picture by Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Startland Information

“It was studying expertise,” England defined. “However with the overhead of making an attempt to run the brick and mortar — with the meals prices, labor points [retaining staff], and labor prices — it simply turned an excessive amount of.”

KC Cajun — which England began as a catering firm in 2016 and grew right into a meals truck in 2018 — opened its first bodily restaurant in Could 2022 on East twenty seventh St.

He signed the lease for the restaurant and began renovating it proper when the pandemic began, England recalled.

“One massive factor I realized — after I was going by the planning course of — it took so lengthy with COVID, and by the point I acquired this operating, the plan I had going into it wanted to vary,” he stated. “However I used to be too far invested in right here to attempt to change it.”

“We’ve had main challenges,” England continued. “I noticed it’s a matter of being resilient. It’s form of in my character. In case you don’t have that, it’s not a straightforward man’s sport.”

Sadly, he famous, the tip of the restaurant additionally halts his imaginative and prescient for the undertaking serving because the catalyst for larger funding within the east aspect group. He had plans to begin a nonprofit cooking faculty for highschool college students.

“It’s unhappy that I can’t actually do as a lot as I wished to do locally,” he added.

However England — who additionally sells a line of seasonings that may be discovered at The Black Pantry — isn’t letting this setback cease him, he shared. Now that he doesn’t must juggle issues on the brick-and-mortar house, he can once more deal with the meals truck and catering enterprise. Exterior of personal bookings, he plans to park his truck at First Fridays, plus different spots throughout town like across the Jackson County Courthouse and Hospital Hill through the lunch rush.

Click on here to seek out the KC Cajun truck schedule.


Fried shrimp po’ boy from KC Cajun; picture by Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Startland Information

Together with his renewed deal with the meals truck, England plans so as to add a pair new menu choices quickly, together with an alligator corn canine.

“We’re doing an alligator sausage with a spicy corn canine batter and we’ll have a pleasant dipping sauce with it,” he defined.

He additionally goals to carry again a couple of menu gadgets like cajun pizza and nachos, plus add his pasta to the meals truck lineup.

“Principally, we took all the highest gross sales we had been having (on the restaurant) and mixed it with prime gross sales on the truck and fused the menu collectively,” he defined. “Then we had been doing each day specials, as properly.”


Chef Esra England, KC Cajun; picture by Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Startland Information

England has moved his headquarters to the Mid-Continent Public Library Culinary Center on the Inexperienced Hills Library Middle. There, he teaches lessons within the kitchen, together with a curriculum round beginning a meals truck enterprise.

He’s unhappy to lose his headquarters within the coronary heart of town, he stated, however transferring to The Culinary Middle will enable the Mississippi native to introduce his Cajun meals — with a Midwest twist — to the Northland group.

“It’s a possibility to seek out us a brand new market,” he continued.

Sooner or later, England doesn’t plan on opening one other restaurant, he famous, however he may see himself partnering with a bar to offer KC Cajun meals from their kitchen. He’d additionally wish to put money into a trailer, so he can journey to communities additional outdoors the KC metro space.

“I’m actually hopeful concerning the future,” England added.
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