True tastes of the bayou
are surfacing in Hoover.
When Jeff Thompson moved to Birmingham from Louisiana in the early 1990s, his first order of business was to assess the local dining scene. That’s when he discovered a glaring void that made it virtually impossible for him to call Alabama home.“There was no Cajun food at all, and I just can’t live without my crawfish!” Thompson said, laughing through his thick Louisiana drawl. “It was either do something about it or go home. This was a deal-killer.”
Thompson took matters into his own hands, setting up a modest roadside stand and selling crawfish from the back of a trailer hooked up to his truck. It was anything but fancy, but his winning formula of fresh seafood sold at reasonable prices proved that the market was ready for authentic Cajun cuisine. "It was pretty simple - just a couple of tables and some umbrellas - but you wouldn't believe how excited people here got over it. It was as if I had introduced them to a whole new culture, like they'd never had crawfish before - not the fresh kind anyway," recalls Thompson. "That little stand still brings back fond memories for me; it still brings a smile to my face when I think about all the people I met. That's when I could start calling Birmingham home."
Two years later, the economy forced Thompson to put his culinary dreams on hold and focus on a more lucrative different business opportunity in residential homebuilding. But his patience paid off after about three years, when he and a business partner "went all in" and leased the space to build the restaurant he had long dreamt of opening. To this day, Cajun Steamer's original Hoover location - which stands just a few miles from the land on which his roadside stand once operated - remains especially close to Thompson's heart.
In February of 2016, Thompson stepped away from the culinary business, making his way back to Louisiana. After 2 years of missing the business, an opportunity to open a new restaurant back in Hoover, AL came to his attention. In the Spring of 2018, the plan was set and The Cajun Roux Bar & Grill was born. The new location, located at Stadium Trace in Hoover, will open it's doors in 2020.
"It's been an exciting ride for us. I like to think the towns that have welcomed us so far have fallen in love with our food, our atmosphere and our genuine Cajun hospitality," said Thompson.