Louisiana Charlie’s is a local Black-owned cajun restaurant located at the Shoreline Village. After being in the restaurant business since 1984, owners and married couple of 41 years, Shanda Laurent and Eric Laurent brought their roots to California in 2013.
The restaurant was named after Shanda Laurent’s father, Charlie, who was born and raised in Wilson, Louisiana. After Charlie passed, naming the restaurant wasn’t difficult.
“It’s in honor of the great memories of his background, food and culture,” said Shanda Laurent.
Although Shanda Laurent didn’t grow up in Louisiana, her father made sure his children knew their family and culture. All of Louisiana Charlie’s recipes are from her grandmothers and further.
“We took recipes from both sides of the family because in a business you need to do what patrons generally are used to,” said Shanda Laurent. “Some recipes are Cajun like our gumbo instead of Creole. Most people nowadays don’t know the difference.”
After opening the first location in Long Beach, the couple opened a second location in 2020, bringing New Orleans soul food to San Diego.
“This location was special because we were looking for something different and after having different types of restaurants,” said Shanda Laurent. “We wanted something that represents our family and culture.”
The Mardi Gras-themed restaurant with a welcoming staff offers waterfront outdoor and indoor seating serving Southern barbecue, Cajun-style cuisine and cocktails. The restaurant is filled with big, beautiful chandeliers and private booths. From po’boy sandwiches to alligator meat, seafood boil and more, Louisiana Charlies brings a New Orleans comfort to Long Beach.
“We were trying to offer an upscale dining experience with great Southern foods, beautiful water views and Southern hospitality,” said Shanda Laurent.
The aromas accentuate the overall southern comfort feel of the restaurant. Everything is seasoned with cajun spices and shiny with butter and garlic. The peach cobbler is a golden brown, warm, cinnamon treat with fresh peaches.
“It smells so good I can already taste it,” said customer Sophia Conversano, as she waited for her jumbo shrimp to arrive.
With various sandwiches and side dishes, such as cornbread and baked beans, chicken plates, gumbo, and brisket options, the cuisine is not limited to seafood lovers. The seafood boil portions are shareable so bring a buddy to enjoy a meal with.
“Laurent men made the best barbecue smokers out of bricks,” said Shanda Laurent. “That’s how my husband learned as a child how to smoke meat.”