Rikenjaks Brewing Company

Rikenjaks Brewing Company

A popular Southwestern Louisiana bar and grill has made its way across the state line to Southeast Texas.

Originally founded in 1992 as a microbrewery in a backyard barn in Jackson, Louisiana, Rikenjaks Brewing Company evolved into a bar and grill and moved to Lake Charles in 1999. The Lake Charles location was sold in 2003 and stopped production in 2007. However, owner Jay Ecker was able to retain the name and later partnered with Frankie Randazzo and Buck Maraist, owners of Madison’s, Dylan’s Bar & Grill and Bar Local in Beaumont, to revive the closed Lake Charles restaurant in 2016.

The redux of Rikenjaks in Lake Charles saw so much success that the bar and grill’s partners decided to open a new location in Southeast Texas. Rikenjaks officially opened in Vidor on Wednesday, May 31.

“We opened the Lake Charles location last year in May and it took off,” said Robby Valvano, regional brand manager for Rikenjaks. “It’s one of the most popular destinations in Lake Charles.”

Hoping to ride the wave of success of its Lake Charles location and outdo the previous bar and grill at the Lakewood Business Park in Vidor, French Quarter, Rikenjaks Brewing Company is concentrating on three aspects — craft beer, Louisiana comfort food and live music.

“We saw it as an opportunity to give Orange County a destination for live music, great food and quality beers,” Valvano said.

Rikenjaks’ commitment to offering craft beers is demonstrated by its offering nine on tap, many of which are from breweries in Houston, Galveston and Lake Charles. Craft beers on draft include Crying Eagle The Chuck (Lake Charles, Louisiana); Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan (Kiln, Mississippi); Abita Amber (Abita Springs, Louisiana); Bayou Teche LA 31 (Arnaudville, Louisiana); Saint Arnold Art Car (Houston); Spindletap Honey Hole (Houston); Southern Star Blonde Bombshell (Conroe); Galveston Island Tiki Wheat (Galveston); and Karbach Love Street (Houston).

“We feel that staying local helps everyone,” Valvano said. “We’re a locally owned business. The Gulf Coast definitely has lots of great products as far as beers go, and we’re excited to showcase those to the community.”

Happy hour is 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day and offers $3.50 wells, $4 craft pints, $3 domestic pints, $2.50 domestic bottles, $2 Lone Star and $1.50 High Life Pony, in addition to $4.50 shots of Tito’s, Jack Daniels, Bacardi, Jameson and Jose Cuervo.

Billed as “Louisiana comfort food,” Rikenjaks menu offers a variety of great Cajun appetizers including Alligator Boulette, seasoned fried alligator balls served with Rikenjaks’ signature jezebel sauce — a concoction of mango and habanero with a sweet flavor yet savory bite to it — and Lazy Pistolettes, Rikenjaks’ take on the classic Cajun treat that Southeast Texans have grown to love.

Popular main dishes at Rikenjaks include the angus burgers, which are served with Rikenjaks’ Beer Cheese Fries for only $1.50 more, and the Swamp Platter, which comes with fried catfish, shrimp, house fries and remoulade.

“It’s all the items that you’d want to enjoy on any day while sitting around with friends and family and relaxing,” Valvano said.

Why not enjoy a little live music while partaking in Rikenjaks’ comfort food?

Live music takes place every Friday and Saturday night. Scheduled to perform this weekend is Blues Tonic on Friday and Tim Burge & The Reckoning on Saturday.

“You’re going to see some of the region’s best entertainers cover everything from classic rock to current hits with a couple of singer songwriters in there performing some of their own original stuff,” Valvano said. “It’s a very wide variety of music.”

Rikenjaks Brewing Company, at 18635 I-10, unit 1000, in Vidor, is open Sunday-Friday from 11 a.m. – midnight and on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. For more information or to place an order, call (409) 233-2058. You can also follow Rikenjaks Brewing Company South Street on Facebook.