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Saturday, July 05, 2008

The new Sazerac

While reading about the upcoming Taste of Downtown, I was really interested to learn a new restaurant is being planned for Springfield called Sazerac:

Downtown restaurants will be dishing up samples of their menu items from noon to midnight Saturday at TASTE OF DOWNTOWN. But attendees may be puzzled by a vendor named SAZERAC.

Sazerac is a new restaurant being planned by Michael Taylor, former chef at CHARLES AND LIMEY'S and BAYOU GRILL. The restaurant location hasn't been formalized yet, but Taylor will sell Creole barbecued shrimp, red beans and rice and crawfish etouffee at the festival. His specialty is Creole and cajun cooking.
Taste of Downtown will be on Fifth Street between Jefferson and Adams streets. Admission is $2 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Live music will start at 2 p.m. (Rem: A La Carte.)

Sazerac is the name of a cocktail:

The Sazerac is one of the oldest known cocktails, with its origins in pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana. The original drink is based on a combination of Cognac and bitters created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud. Since its creation, many different recipes have evolved for the drink, usually involving some combination of Cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe, pastis, Peychaud's Bitters, and Angostura bitters.

The Sazerac cocktail was named by John Schiller in 1859 upon the opening of his Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. Both most likely derive their name from a popular brand of Cognac, Sazerac-du-Forge et fils . (Wiki.)

But, I wonder if the owners of the new Sazerac know that Springfield once had a place called The Sazerac. Or, The Saz, for short. It was an old-time downtown tavern and it closed in the 70s. If I recall correctly, it was on the west side of Sixth Street one door north of Monroe (next to Allen's Cigar Store). It was long and narrow and quiet and smoky, with lots of well-worn dark woods. Something happened there, but I can't remember what it was. A gambling raid, maybe? I don't know. I might be confusing it with another place.

Anyway, good luck to the new Sazerac.

Posted by Marie at July 5, 2008 11:15 PM


Sazerac is a familiar name to me but I'd never heard of the drink. Assuming that the restaurant serves authentic Creole, it's good that people outside of New Orleans are getting a taste of it but it's a shame that it has become so trendy AND expensive. Barbecued shrimp is a fairly recent dish (If the shrimp are served IN the shell, it's messy messy) but crawfish etouffee and red beans are traditional poor people's dishes as are seafood gumbo and jambalaya. All are served with rice or over rice and usually with French bread. Rice and French bread are cheap fillers and crawfish, shrimp, and sausage all used to be very cheap in New Orleans. The wife is making red beans as I type. It's still fairly cheap to make.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at July 6, 2008 8:30 AM

Rob, You are making me really hungry.

Posted by: Marie at July 6, 2008 11:34 AM

Supper is at 6. You're invited. :)

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at July 6, 2008 1:24 PM

Marie - it was very nice of you to give me a mention regarding my new restaurant. We hope to open in early September. I chose the name partly because of the connection between the name and New Orleans - but also because my Dad and my Stepmom used to go there after work when they first started dating.

And Rob, you are certainly right about the Cajun lifestyle. Much like Italian peasant fare, the poorer folks who had to hunt, trap and fish for their food often got the meals that we now consider exotic.

Please drop by once I get open and make sure to introduce yourself. The best part of the restaurant business is the new friends that you make.

Posted by: Michael Taylor at August 8, 2008 1:24 PM