Photo Credit: Homemade Shrimp and Sausage Cajun Gumbo Over Rice | Canva
This Black-Owned Restaurant Brings A Taste Of New Orleans To Japan
As a former Marine, New Orleans native Al Shipp had the opportunity to travel to Okinawa, Japan in 1993 for a one-year tour. Even from the plane, he instantly fell in love with the beauty of the islands. He was able to go back in 2004, and eventually retire from the military and take a government job in Okinawa.
After brainstorming ideas on what career path he could take next, Shipp realized he wanted to open a restaurant. As someone who loves to cook and as someone who grew up in a city known for its cuisine, he decided to bring a piece of that to Okinawa. In December of 2015, he opened his restaurant Cafe Orleans.
Cafe Orleans brings an authentic taste of New Orleans to Japan, something that is rare in the East Asian country. While the animals and some other ingredients may be a little different than they are in New Orleans, Shipp has found a way to recreate the dishes he came to know and love.
“My vision was to test the five senses,” Shipp said in a video interview. “From the tastes to the sounds, I wanted people to be able to close their eyes and feel like they were in a cafe in New Orleans.”
In its 4.5 years of existence, the restaurant has done very well and often hosts a packed house of patrons. On the menu, you will find creole classics like shrimp po-boys, boudin, gumbo, and étouffée. Shipp also whips up other American classics that may be hard to find, so that expats and military personnel can get a taste of home while being away.