Chef Blake Cressey may have started small — selling hot plates out of her home nearly 10 years ago — but with her new restaurant, she’s proving her ability to continuously set the standard for crowd-pleasing, new-school New Orleans comfort food.
Cressey recently opened Blake’s Place, her biggest venture yet, at 724 Dublin Street in New Orleans’s Riverbend neighborhood. She looked for a space for her “first true semi-fine-dining establishment” for almost a year, landing on the New Orleans-style shotgun home that was once a Mexican restaurant called La Mansion. Despite the restaurant undergoing a major restoration, Cressey says, she still wanted a “cozy, New Orleans house vibe.” A house in New Orleans is one “you’ll never forget,” she adds.
Cressey, a born and raised New Orleanian, is the chef and owner behind Tasty Treat, which she first opened as a food truck in 2014 before expanding with a separate restaurant in 2017. The truck, and eventually the counter-service storefront, was known for hot plates featuring stuffed fried catfish and shrimp, broccoli smothered in crawfish cheese sauce, and Blake’s wings, lavishly seasoned and still a customer favorite today. Cressey refers to the “Tasty Treat experience” as one in which diners could expect to overindulge in great-tasting, large-quantity portions of what she calls “Trendy Foods,” dishes that catch your eye on social media but “captivate your heart” once you’ve tasted them.
Social media has been integral to Cressey building a following — she’s used it to launch a cookware line, Chef Blake Cookware, host a local food festival tied to Minority Mental Health Awareness Month called Get Ya Mind Right Festival, and now, to introduce her new restaurant. Though she closed Tasty Treat in 2021 after Hurricane Ida, Cressey’s been pleased with the reception to Blake’s Place, which blends her style of Creole comfort food with an Italian influence, resulting in dishes like chicken Marsala and the Dumaine Treat, a linguine Alfredo topped with Louisiana catfish, Gulf shrimp, and “Blake’s Riverwalk sauce,” which incorporates crawfish. Still, there are the classics she’s known for on the menu, too: gumbo, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, crawfish cheese sauce-topped fries, and, of course, Blake’s wings.
“People are enjoying the location, the atmosphere; the cuisine is a hit.” After all these years of hard work, Cressey says, she’s eager to see what the future holds, “and I’m even more excited about our menus and how I can vary them;” continuing her knack for elaborating on New Orleans comfort food.
Blake’s Place is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday and for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.