Soulard has a new destination for New Orleans-inspired fare. BooCoo debuted on Feb. 5, featuring a bar and grill menu that includes signatures such as a gator and shrimp po’boy, smash burgers, jambalaya and more.

The concept comes from owner Nikki Westhoff along with executive chef CJ Taylor and general manager Sarah Marsden. Taylor previously cooked at bars in his hometown of Granite City, Illinois. He credits early cooking inspiration to his mother, who he says was an aspiring chef who worked at Hammerstone’s in the same neighborhood.

“We want to make everyone who walks in the door feel comfortable,” says Westhoff, who has bartended for 22 years, getting her start in the bar industry at Humphrey’s in 1999. “The name BooCoo comes from New Orleans slang – the French phrase ‘merci beaucoup,’ or thank you very much. It means many, much, a lot. We hope to provide ‘BooCoo’ amounts of fun here.”

BooCoo fills the space previously occupied by Oaked but takes a decidedly more casual approach than its predecessors. To that end, Westhoff brought in 14 TVs throughout the space as well as a jukebox and dart boards.

From the menu, choose from highlights such as “Tower of Nachos,” which are served layered, baked and served in a coffee can, featuring your choice of chicken, beef or chili with cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeños, salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips or nacho-cheese chips. Additional shareable plates include toasted cannelloni served with red sauce or white sauce.

“We’ve got some of your St. Louis favorites but are bringing that New Orleans feel to it to set us apart,” Marsden says.

BooCoo also features gator on its menu in dishes such as gator jambalaya as well as a gator and shrimp po’boy served with Cajun mayonnaise. In the latter offering, the gator is marinated in buttermilk and dredged in seasonings before frying.

Additional sandwich options include quarter-pound smash burgers as well as housemade roast beef that is cooked medium rare and shaved thin, available in a French dip as well as in The Bayou – an open-faced sandwich topped with gravy, Cajun mayo and your choice of cheese.

A brunch menu is also available on Saturdays and Sundays and includes items such as the Dip Stick, made up of a sausage link skewer rolled in pancake batter and deep fried, served with a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup.

BooCoo’s current hours of operation are Monday from 11am to 11pm, Tuesday through Friday from 11am to midnight, and Saturday through Sunday from 10am to midnight.

BooCoo, 1031 Lynch St., Soulard, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.261.4600, boocoostl.com