The Weekly Dish: Richard's Café

The Weekly Dish: Richard's Café

By Brandi Haskett and Lauren Dodd

Richard’s Café will warm your soul and fill your belly. Near downtown Beaumont, Richard’s is just a couple blocks south of Interstate 10 on Magnolia Street. They offer made-from-scratch dishes that will transport you back to grandma’s kitchen.

After retiring to Kountze from Los Angeles, owners Mary and Edmond Richard quickly grew restless, and opened a restaurant and nightclub. Richard’s Café came to Beaumont in the ’90s and after fifteen years at their College Street location, damage from Hurricane Ike forced the family to move to their current location on Magnolia.

Ol’ fashioned home cookin’

Not many restaurants specialize in authentic homestyle food these days. The café is run by family; Mary Richard’s four daughters are seen behind the counter serving up a copious amount of delicious food every day. Recipes from five generations have helped to perfect the entrées customers are very fond of. Everything is made from fresh ingredients, which means the Richard ladies are up before sunrise cooking delectable dishes before most people have had their morning coffee.

Food is served on a buffet, cafeteria-style. Richard’s offers at least eight main dishes, including oxtails, coubion, fried chicken, meat loaf and gumbo. Beef tips are a bestseller. A variety of side dishes are available to choose from, such as mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, and black-eyed peas, to name a few. Plate lunches are also served with either a dinner roll or cornbread.

This little café has a big reputation. You never know who you will see while eating at the quaint shop. Celebrities such as Kenny Perkins from the Oklahoma City Thunder and D.L. Hughley brag about Richard’s Cajun home-style cooking. Even Lil’ Wayne’s posse requested Mary’s soulful delicacies the last time they rolled through town.

Beef Tips

Look no further; this is the place to go for beef tips in Beaumont. Plate lunches are served with two sides. We paired mustard greens and sweet yams with delicious beef tips. The gravy and beef is poured over a good helping of white rice and served with your choice of roll or cornbread. The yams were perfectly sweetened and so tasty that we wished we had ordered two helpings. The beef tips were ah-mazing! The quality of beef was much appreciated and was fall-off-your-fork tender. These beef tips are Richard’s No. 1 seller, and now we know why. “It’s all in the gravy,” explained Mary Richard. The beef tip gravy really lives up to the hype — it’s superb. No need to salt or pepper this dish.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

It’s always a good day for gumbo! Richard’s serves up the biggest bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo we’ve ever seen, more like a bucket! The gumbo was well seasoned and not too overpowering. It had just enough spice and rice to enjoy all the rich flavors of the robust meats and veggies. The sausage was very tender and the chicken was falling off the bone — literally. A roll or piece of homemade cornbread is also served with the gumbo, as well as crackers.

Peach cobbler

Homemade pastry crust is prepared from scratch by Mary’s daughter, Vivian. You can taste the difference between this treat and your average store-bought cobbler. The peach filling was not overly sweet and had hints of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Our only advice – get a to-go box! These dishes were so hearty and filling, we only made it half way through.

Banana pudding

Wow! There are real sliced bananas in here! The delightful, creamy pudding was filled with bananas and vanilla cookies. When asked about putting real fruit in the pudding, Mary said she doesn’t worry about them turning brown: “It’s always gone by then.” We can see why; the pudding is a sweet way to end any meal.

If you are looking for a quick fix for dinner or need to plan for the upcoming holidays, you’re in luck. Richard’s caters their famous dishes and are available for call-ahead orders. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

We want to know where you like to go! E-mail your suggestions for next week’s adventure at weeklydish [at] theexaminer [dot] com.