Still good after all these years

The Boudain Hut
Boudain Balls

After enduring 31 years of hurricanes, economic boom-and-bust cycles, and most recently an ordinance banning smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces, The Boudain Hut in Port Arthur is still the place to catch live music five nights a week and continues to serve the best boudain around.

The Boudain Hut, also known for its good food, resists the urge of becoming a private club, which would allow it to serve liquor. (A city zoning ordinance currently forbids the sale of liquor where the bar and grill is located.) It could also end the establishment’s ability to serve the great food that it has become known for.

The Boudain Hut has found a happy medium by instead serving only beer and wine and allowing customers to bring their own liquor.

Owner Mark Trahan said he plans to add a covered patio to the back of the restaurant for smokers and is planning to remodel the inside as well. The patio area should be finished by the end of the summer.

“We’d like to have an outdoor patio that protects from the rain, and if it’s cold, we’d like to have heat in there,” Trahan said.

For sure not to be touched in the remodel, however, are two works from artist Gary Landry. On their way to the restrooms, patrons will notice a painting of Clark Gable and Mae West and a “Kenny Rogers: The Gambler” wall-sized mural behind the live music stage, painted by Landry on Feb. 23, 1984.

These paintings definitely add to the atmosphere of The Boudain Hut, which prides itself on live music every Wednesday-Sunday, everything from Cajun to classic rock.

“Wayne Toups has even come in here after a show and played,” Trahan said.

Karaoke on Tuesday nights is also a popular attraction. And there’s never a cover charge.

How has The Boudain Hut been able to outlast its competitors?

“Consistency,” said Holly Wilson, who has been manager of the bar for 31 years. Her father, Charlie, opened the bar’s original location at Gulfway and Main. “We haven’t really changed a whole lot over the years. We’ve always had a clientele that loves to dance.”

Customers from all over the world come to The Boudain Hut. Mariners from different countries who dock at the Port of Port Arthur are often brought up town and introduced to the world-famous restaurant, known for some of the best boudain around.

Wilson uses an old family recipe that keeps customers coming back.

“There was a gentleman that worked for my father named Dennis Leon, and he started making the boudain,” she said. “It’s the same recipe we’ve had since ’81.”

The boudain is a little bit more meatier and has less rice than a lot of boudains we’ve tried. It’s not too spicy yet not too mild.

Other Cajun specialties include hog’s head cheese, which if you haven’t tried, you must. Don’t let the name scare you away. Put a little on a cracker with some mustard, and you’ll thank us later. It’s a wonderful delicacy that was shared by Europeans.

The chicken and sausage gumbo, which comes with a side of potato salad or okra, has a little kick to it, but there are plenty of pieces of juicy sausage and savory chicken to keep you satisfied. The roux? Fantastic. We ended up licking the bowl.

“Mine’s simple,” Wilson said. “I don’t throw everything in there. It’s a very simple recipe, but the flavor is good.”

“We sell a lot of gumbo,” Trahan confirmed.

The restaurant serves breakfast as well.

“One of the favorites is the boudain omelet,” Wilson said. We’ve heard of a lot of boudain combinations in Southeast Texas, but never a boudain omelet. Yes, it was delicious.

The bacon cheeseburger is also a hit. We loved the crispy bacon and took ours with all the fixin’s.

There’s also pool and other games once your belly is full.

So next time you are in Port Arthur, stop by The Boudain Hut and see what all the fuss is about. And make sure you visit The Boudain Hut’s Beaumont location, called The Boudain Hut North, located at Brentwood Country Club.

 

— Chad Cooper contributed to this article

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