A Q&A with Marcus Harris of MarquesMarques is a downtown Canton bar-restaurant located on the busy of corner of Cleveland Avenue and Tuscarawas Street W.
Owner Marcus Harris helped open the place in January 2015 and is enthusiastic and upbeat about the direction Marques is taking.
“It’s been a nice little run,” he says. For hours, menu and more, visit marquesdowntown.com.
Q. Is Marques strictly a Cajun restaurant?
A. “It’s a Southern restaurant with Cajun influences. My philosophy is that when you think of Southern food, you think of black people. When you think of soul food, you think of black people. Our food is for everybody. This restaurant is to show everybody don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Q. Who prepares the food?
A. “I cook about 99.9 percent of the food. I can taste something and then I’ll create it myself, put my own spin on it. I’ll research a food, learn how to make it, follow people who make those kinds of things, then tweak it and make it mine.”
Q. What are some highlights on your menu?
A. “From the Southern side, we have fried pork chops, fried fish, fried chicken, candied yams, greens, black-eyed peas. From the Cajun side, we have gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, chicken etouffee. The menu continues to grow. We’re expanding into pastas. The newest thing is chicken and waffles. I’m not sure if that’s Cajun or Southern, but people seem to love it.”
Q. What is your most popular item?
A. “The sweet potato bar, which is our house dessert. They come in and buy three or four pieces or a tray of it. It’s my creation. It’s sort of like sweet potato pie but much richer and denser. You can cut it into a bar. It has whipped cream on top.”
Q. What can you tell me about your clientele?
A. “We get a variety of people. We’re right downtown so we get business people, lawyers, doctors. I feed the homeless. So it runs the gamut. Everyone and anyone is welcome here.”
Q. How’s business?
A. “Our name is getting out there. It takes three to five years for a business to take root. We’re getting noticed more and more, getting traction. We do a lot of events—graduations, baby showers. We have a back room which is available for concerts and events. Live entertainment is happening once a month now, and we have bands calling here wanting to be booked.”