Moving into Mother Road Market, Leroux’s Kitchen has brought Louisiana style cooking to the Tulsa area with the help of Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (aka TEDC Creative Capital). Leroux’s cajun style cooking is now open at Mother Road Market.
“It’s been a great process,” Leroux’s Kitchen co-owner Renauld Porter said. “Get ready for opening day. With the popups, there’s only certain things that we can bring, but with now being open (as Mother Road) we can actually expand because we have so much.”
Leroux’s Kitchen co-owner Gabriela Castañeda explained how the restaurant does not waste food.
“Because we don’t waste our food, whatever doesn’t sell we give it to whoever needs it,” Castañeda said. “If it’s at Mother Road, we feed the roadies and then we take the rest to the homeless. We pack it and give it to them. We don’t waste our food.”
Their mission is to translate love through food.
“We want to be able to translate love on a higher frequency, a higher level,” Porter said. “We get to start our food initiative, Don’t Waste the Flavor, which is where we get other food merchants involved. Whatever they have at the end of the night, whatever is good, we collect that and get that to homeless families in need.”
To tease the kinds of dishes they offer, Porter explains one of the specialties featured at Mother Road. “Tulsa gotta get ready for shrimp and crawfish meatballs, with a nice krill brown gravy over some mash potatoes with a side of some good veggies and a roll,” Porter said. “We take the boring out of a lot of food that people traditionally eat, and translating love through food is the thing but it’s also the techniques, the approach, how you feel!”
TEDC Micro Loan
TEDC Creative Capital funded Leroux’s Kitchen with a Micro Loan. Funds were used to purchase equipment,to complete the decor, and for other start-up expenses like salaries and basic operating costs.
“It feels good to actually have that kind of backing and to not feel like you have to scrape the bottom of the bowl,” Porter said.
A microloan is exactly what it sounds like: a small loan from TEDC for business expenses. TEDC’s average microloan is $12,000, with a maximum of $50,000.
“Thank you TEDC, and everybody on the staff,” Porter said. “Literally everybody has been helpful. Everybody has literally made this process warm and welcoming. No stale energy.”
Beginning in 2020 at the heart of the pandemic, Leroux’s started their business doing pop-ups, curbside pick-up and through a service called Trap Kitchen.
“We were freelancing, trying to figure it out, concept shaping, that’s what it was at that point,” Porter said. “Getting that feeling to see if this was something we really wanted to do. Honestly, at that time, we didn’t know if we were operating out of survival or love, and then we operated long enough to gauge the temperature.”
Nest Collective, a program of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce, is how Leroux connected with TEDC. “We learned how to get past impostor syndrome; it was a lot of great knowledge for sure,” Porter said.
Supporting Leroux’s Kitchen besides visiting them at Mother Road Market would be to share their Instagram and spread the word.
“Honestly just tell people about us,” Porter said. “Let that translate to sales. I think once the food hits their tongue, it’ll be self-explanatory.”
Their advice to new business owners who are also trying to get their start in whatever industry is: “Don’t give up,” Porter said. “It’s been a journey, working in the rain, working in the snow, and we still do to this day.”
About TEDC Creative Capital
TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing progressive lending to promising start-ups and growing businesses. TEDC builds equitable economic prosperity by helping small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and advance communities! Loans range from $500 to $10 million.
Visit TEDCnet.com or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and entrepreneurial education programs! If you’re not a business owner but want to explore ownership, please contact TEDC! If you know someone who may need TEDC assistance, please share this story!