New restaurant hopes to bring New Orleans to downtown

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA)- Nola rock bar in Urbana held its grand opening this weekend. Specializing in Cajun food, managing director Ian Goldberg hopes to bring a taste of New Orleans to Urbana. “We’ve got a gumbalya, which is a mix of gumbo and jambalaya, red beans and rice, and some other fun Cajun dishes”. The restaurant was formerly known as Blackbird, but they decided to give the bar a new spin by bringing a different culture to downtown.

“Food that you would find on bourbon street, which isn’t something you would find everywhere, and it’s our goal to make the main street feel like bourbon street when you come down to Nola’s,” said Goldberg. As soon as they decided to get things open, the pandemic hit and forced them to delay opening day, but now they have to think about the colder weather. General manager Pamela Wakefield says they’ve considered this and prepared by adding infrared heaters. “They keep the patio pretty warm, so it’s nice that we have those outsides as well, so even in the colder months, there’s still someplace to be outside that’s not freezing.”

They’re also making the guest feel safe by introducing virtual menus, and the manager hopes Nola’s can be a place to relax in times like these. “It’s just an amazing feeling to be able to see customers when they come in and see how happy they are,” said Wakefield.

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