Click photo to enlarge
Sergio Ramerez, the chef at Orleans, an ethnic restaurant featuring creole and cajun style cuisine, shows a serving of Jambalaya in Brentwood, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

Name of business: Orleans Restaurant

Type of business: Restaurant

Owner: Kim Nelson

Founded: December 2012

Address: 613 First St., #100, Brentwood

Phone number: 925-308-7088

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday 3 to 10 p.m.; closed Monday.

Number of employees: 12

Products and services: Orleans Restaurant features Creole and Cajun cuisine with family recipes direct from Louisiana. The restaurant offers everything from appetizers to desserts with main dishes, including rich-sauced meals like gumbo and jambalaya, as well as a variety of seafood dishes. The restaurant also offers New Orleans-style po-boys and pulled pork sandwiches. Desserts feature three Southern favorites, including bourbon bread pudding, peach cobbler and crème brule.

The restaurant offers eat-in, takeout, catering and outdoor seating.

How did you get in the business: For many years Nelson worked at the Oakland Coliseum in the hospitality and management services. It wasn't uncommon to see her before a bar at Raiders, A's or Warriors game. When she moved to Brentwood in 2004, Nelson decided it was time open her own restaurant. She had long want to have a place where she could offer her family recipes for people to enjoy.

"Growing up in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, my family were also competing against each other for the best gumbo and jambalaya recipes," Nelson said. "I put together the best recipes for my restaurant."

Best part about the business: "The reception from the community has been great," Nelson said. "It pleases me to see them enjoy the food and come back."

Key to success: Seeing the people come back and seeing the satisfied faces of the people who work for her is a big part of Nelson's key to success.

Biggest misperception about the business: Nelson said that when people think about food from Louisiana or New Orleans their first thought is hot spicy food.

"There is a place for spicy food," Nelson said. "We have some of that in our recipes that we use Andouille sausage in, but for most of our other recipes, we have a Creole flavor in."

Nelson describes her Creole dishes to be more savory rather than spicy.

Future plans: Currently the restaurant offers entertainment with DJ and Karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights. Nelson would like to offer live jazz or blues entertainment on Sunday nights in the future.

-- Roni Gehlke