Servers at Doug Nelson’s Café have had customers asking the same question every spring for the last five years:
“Doug doin' crawfish this year?”
Well, it seems the busy Southern gentleman has caught a little bit of that spring fever running rampant here in Southeast Texas because, yes, folks. Doug’s doin’ crawfish this year.
“We used to do crawfish every year for 20 years,” recalled Nelson, who’s been in the barbecue business for 42 years. “It was always a lot of fun, and we catered, too — we would serve anywhere from 500 to 2,000 pounds of crawfish.”
Nelson’s legendary barbecue earned such a name for itself that Nelson began bottling his signature sauce, fish fry, steak seasoning and rub spice about 10 years ago, but it was five years ago when his line of seasonings began to really fly off the shelves.
“I got so busy with the seasonings, so I wanted to scale back the work hours here,” he said of his restaurant, normally open for lunch weekdays from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
But as of March 12, Doug Nelson’s Café is open Saturdays from 4-9 p.m. now through the end of crawfish season. So what was it that got Nelson to add extra hours in order to bring back the crawfish?
“Well, it was mainly the staff,” Nelson replied. “They asked me if they could start doing crawfish, and then the customers always asked about it. They all got so excited, so I started getting excited. Now, I’m real excited.”
And so is everyone else — a short, scenic drive down Fannett Road through to the other side of a tiny town called Cheek brings you right up to Doug Nelson’s Café, located in the historical Hunter building built in 1933 (rumored to have once been a jail.)
Guests are invited to bring their own beverages; with daylight savings time giving everybody that extra hour of sun in the evenings, Doug Nelson’s Café makes for the perfect Saturday evening getaway for the entire family.
Prices for Nelson’s mudbugs will fluctuate with the market, and he expects them to go down as crawfish season goes into full swing. For those who don’t eat crawfish, Nelson will also be serving a limited menu on Saturday including links, barbecue plates, fried shrimp and catfish.
“It’s getting better every week; people are com-ing out and we’re doing real good,” Nelson mused. “I’m real excited about it — and I’m ready to eat some, too.”
For more information, call the restaurant during business hours at (409) 842-1557. Doug Nelson’s Café is at 10025 Fannett Road (Highway 124) in Beaumont.