Okra’s Louisiana Bistro Celebrates Grand Opening of Second Location

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Provided by the Flory Small Business Center, Inc.

Photo by Don Flory

Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson recently joined business owner Charles Gilliam and members of the community to celebrate the Gainesville opening of the second location of Okra’s Cajun Creole restaurant.  Supervisor Lawson opened her remarks by noting her pride in welcoming City of Manassas Councilman Ian Lovejoy to her district.  Councilman Lovejoy joked that it takes a lot to get him to leave Manassas but he was happy to honor Okra’s accomplishments.  Okra’s original restaurant is located in the City of Manassas Historic District.

In addition to the elected officials, over 200 friends and foodies were on hand to congratulate Charles, his family, and staff during the festive evening  at Okra’s new venture inside the Virginia Oaks Golf Club located at 7950 Virginia Oaks Drive.  It was a “family reunion” atmosphere as speakers relayed their personal experiences with Okra’s and Charles’ shared his unique story of lessons learned in twenty years of entrepreneurship.  He made a point of recognizing the Okra’s team, including long time manager Christine Finnie and a host of others, including wait staff and cooks that make Okra’s such an entertaining venue to enjoy the finest in Cajun Creole cooking. Charles humorously relayed his road to the Grand Opening, telling how he selected the Gainesville location after an extensive search that included several other locales.  In her remarks, Supervisor Lawson noted that she was happy and appreciative that Okra’s chose the Brentsville District that she represents as the home for their new location.  Tom Grizzard, a long time customer of Okra’s, was the perfect Master of Ceremonies, keeping the program rolling with personal anecdotes and a great sense of humor.

Photo by Don Flory

Participants enjoyed Charles’ signature “N’Awlins” food including Shrimp and Grits, Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, and Cajun Deviled Eggs, along with a selection of Louisiana beers and signature cocktails. The Gainesville location is open for lunch and dinner daily starting at 11:00am. In addition to the comfortable indoor venue, the Virginia Oaks Golf Club location offers outdoor dining and spacious banquet areas that are perfect for weddings, corporate events, and golf tournaments.

Charles started the Okra’s brand in 1998 and its original location is a mainstay in the Manassas Historic District.  The popular spot is frequented by local regulars as well as many who drive from out of the area to enjoy the food.  Their authentic, New Orleans style Cajun fare has attracted musician David Crosby and former First Lady Michelle Obama, who dined there with her daughters several years ago.

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