The lunch specials at the new Iron Fork are a mouthwatering lineup of what co-owners Tory Cummings and Hershall Bergeron call soul food with a Cajun twist.
A dish of red beans and rice is accompanied by fried chicken, green beans, sweet potato casserole and cornbread. The half-rack of St. Louis-style ribs is slathered in barbecue sauce and served with baked beans and cheese and spaghetti—a version of mac-and-cheese made with vermicelli rather than elbow macaroni.
The flavors here are big, and the cooks behind it are serious about Southern comfort food.
Cummings and his wife, Jackie, and Bergeron and his wife, Kaci, opened the Iron Fork in mid-October in the Beau de Chene shopping center on Perkins Road near Essen Lane.
Cummings acknowledges that the location has been home to several previously shuttered eateries, but he believes their quick-service concept, which also includes a market area with fresh and smoked meats and prepared foods, will appeal to busy workers in the area’s bustling medical district. The idea, Cummings says, was to create a lunch menu that would get patrons in and out quickly, during which time they can also pick up a pan of lasagna, ribeyes to throw on the grill, or some other easy dish to serve for dinner.
“We were thinking about what people want and need right now, and it’s like they’re completely exhausted,” Cummings says. “They don’t have time to go to Albertsons and put together food on a weeknight.”
The market’s refrigerated section includes frozen entrees and side dishes, including Thanksgiving favorites like carrot soufflé, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole.
Cummings and Bergeron got to know each other six years ago when Cummings hired Bergeron to cater his son’s birthday party. Also a longtime caterer himself, Cummings wanted a break from cooking that day, so he farmed out the preparation to Bergeron. In short order, the two men became friends and it wasn’t long before they began discussing the idea of opening a restaurant.
“We both love food and we both love people, and you put them together and you got something,” Bergeron says, adding that the concept, which combines plate lunch specials with prepared foods and a Cajun meat market, is unique to the area.
“There’s really nothing else like this around here,” he says. “We hope people will give us a try.”