A ‘Rodair for the new millennium’

Last summer, the new 5,000-square-foot Rodair Roadhouse opened at 6701 Jade Ave.
The Combo Platter includes grilled, blackened or fried catfish, five jumbo shrim

For decades, there was a Cajun hangout in Port Acres that was a great retreat for Southeast Texans who enjoyed good music, dancing and spirits after a long workweek. After establishing itself as a staple in the Cajun community for 39 years, the fun ended when it closed in 2004, and Hurricane Rita finished off the famous Rodair Club.

Last summer, the Rodair Roadhouse, which named its restaurant and bar in tribute to Joe Thibodeaux’s famous club, revived his legend and added its own special touch — a great menu of Cajun dishes.

The new 5,000-square restaurant opened at 6701 Jade Ave., a different location than the original club, but brought something special back to the people of Port Acres.

The “Rodair for the new millennium,” as owner Richard Hudson likes to call it, got the Thibodeaux family’s blessing.

“They thought it was awesome that we were bringing it back,” he said.

Hudson owns the Rodair Roadhouse along with his business partner, Shawn Skinner. Both owners have full-time jobs as well. Skinner runs an engineering firm and Hudson runs a real estate development and property management company.

“We made a commitment that the first six months we were open, we’d be here every day no matter what,” Hudson said. “It’s been trial by error, but so far so good.”

Although Hudson and Skinner were new to the restaurant business, they quickly figured out that good food, cold beer and live music were a formula for success.

“Any day of the week that we have music, you’re going to see kids dancing on our dance floor,” Hudson said.

Just how good the food actually is became clear at the 34th annual Taste of the Triangle Tuesday, Feb. 28, when Rodair won best restaurant for its fried green tomatoes with chili lime tartar.

“Those are Dingle’s babies,” Hudson said, giving credit to GM John Dingle.

“It’s definitely the restaurant’s most popular dish,” Dingle said.

Further evidence of Rodair’s success can be seen in the more than 430 Facebook reviews, which gives the restaurant an overall average rating of 4.9.

In one Facebook review, Robin Tallina Mires writes, “Went to the Rodair Roadhouse last night for dinner. If you haven’t tried it, you are truly missing out. Walked in the door and was promptly greeted by two smiling faces. The atmosphere was very welcoming. The menu had a great variety. … We started with boudain balls which were the best I’ve ever had. … Husband ordered chicken and sausage gumbo, which had a nice dark (roux). It was great, and had generous portions. We ended it by splitting the homemade peach and berry cobbler with ice cream on top. It was amazing! … There was live music, which was a great touch, and it wasn’t too loud, so we were still able to talk to each other without having a hard time hearing.”

That comment alone seems to be proof that Hudson and Skinner’s formula is working.

And the accolades for the food keep rolling in.

Rodair also recently won best gumbo in a Facebook poll conducted by Southeast Texas Restaurant Reviews.

Great food aside, Rodair Roadhouse offers a family-friendly, inviting atmosphere, which is important, Hudson said.

“We like to sit down and talk to people and make them feel like they are part of the family — not just a customer,” Hudson said. “We think of them as guests, and if you treat them like guests and not just customers, it’s a totally different vibe that you put out and get back. This is fun to us. We’re having fun. It’s not a daily grind.”

Rodair has live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and serves boiled crawfish on Mondays from 4-9 p.m.

The Inaugural Rodair Music Fest is scheduled for Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1. Tickets are $10 for Friday and $12 for Saturday and are available on purplepass.com.

Friday performers include Livin’ Proof, Jamie Talbert and the Band of Demons, and Jivin’ Gene and the Ken Marvel Band. Saturday bands include Zydecane, Brad Brinkley Band, Robert Frith, and The Greer Family.

Rodair Roadhouse is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9), on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10) and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Follow The Rodair Roadhouse on Facebook or call (409) 736-2102 for more information.

Kids, don’t forgot to ask for your orange push-up after your meal!