UPDATE 2018: Easy Street Diner has new owners.
To all those loyal Instagram followers out there who waited patiently: You asked for it and now you’ve got it!
It’s time for Easy Street!
Opening first as a street food market stall, Erin and Lucas Schranz developed a fan club of enthusiasts, continuing their support when the pair opened NOLA, a popup restaurant within Blackboard, Varsity. Now it’s time for Lucas to show off more of his food in a restaurant of their own: Easy Street Diner.
Lucas has cooked from Tasmania to Scotland, from takeaway joints to the kitchen of Jacques Reymond – he’s capable of the finest fare, but has learned from friends to give the customers what they want (naughty but nice)! Settling in Erin’s hometown, the couple have opened Easy Street on an underutilised strip of the highway in Mermaid.
Leave behind your quiet manners and puritanical food preferences. There’s a party going on down here that sounds like a Boom Crash Opera concert. And one look at the menu assures us that we’re going to enjoy one hell of a feed! It’s American street food, modern old school, but the food and service are far from shoddy!
Some dishes look familiar? Yes, they’re some of the NOLA (New Orleans LouisiAna) favourites: Southern fried free-range chicken with ranch dressing, the signature Sweet spiced pumpkin pie with cinnamon cream, and of course the Po’Boys, which originated during the streetcar worker strike of 1929 when sympathetic bakers fed the ‘poor boy’ strikers for free.
Po’Boys have risen from the unemployment ashes and made it to Easy Street and even to the White House! They’re decadent ‘Post Depression’ versions of the ‘sandwich’ crammed full of Maple glazed pork belly, Beef brisket debris or [my favourite] Creole soft shell crab with coriander, hoisin and Sriracha sauce! I remember the Crab Po’Boy as succulently drippingly fabulous, the crunch of fried crab a great contrast to the French loaf, the sauces adding depth and ‘Bam!’: there’s that moment of surprise as the Rooster kicks in. Keeps us coming back time and again!
But Chef Lucas has not stopped there! He’s travelled further north through the Americas, picking up burgers, Sticky BBQ, Mac & Cheese as well some wicked cocktails balanced by several local craft beers on tap.
We sit eating our Burger Royale with cheese and bacon, perfectly crisp Craft beer battered onion rings, and a boat of decadent Skinny ‘Oh God?’ fries smothered in house béchamel and salt. Cholesterol-free this is not! It’s pop food bursting with free range flavour underneath, enhanced by the kiss of the fryer, the chips licked by a ‘silky smooth unctuous mess’!
But I have to tell you about my ‘meal in one’: Chick n Waffles. It really was not my fault. Erin made me do it: Crunchy Southern fried chicken, succulent and juicy inside on top of two house made waffles. Smother them in whipped butter then pour the jug of maple syrup over the lot – that’s the instructions I’m given for eating this legendary dish.
But I just can’t! Gingerly I get stuck into a piece of chicken before putting a dab of butter and a drizzle of syrup over just one corner of the heartbreaker waffle, making main course and dessert from the one plate of food. Wuss!
‘You can’t be good all the time,” Lucas chides. No. I’ve just polished off a side of Kale and green beans as entrée and, virtuous as I may feel, I’ll admit that the Chick n Waffles is more delicious, even in two courses!
‘Cold beer and burgers’, ‘Fried chicken and good times’, the front windows proclaim.
Easy Street brings us a menu of new pop culture classics. It speaks of simpler, less complicated times; retro food from an era before ‘raw’ and ‘gluten-free’, when the only vegans in Australia lived in Nimbin, when ‘singles dining’ meant pulling up to the local servo for a chocolate malted in an aluminium cup!
‘You won’t be sorry!’ Lucas promises. I leave giving my word that I’ll drown the chicken next time, but for you? If it’s good enough for Obama, I reckon you should try the Po’Boy, especially with Creole Soft Shell Crab. Honest! You can do it!
Shop 12/ 2563 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 07 5554 6542 Open: Wed – Sun from 5pm.
Another outlet featuring Easy Street’s food can be found in The Collective, Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
NOTE: This review has also been published on Blank Gold Coast.