South Louisiana natives April and Greg Schwalbach always knew they wanted to own their own business. After relocating to Texas years ago, they both toiled away in the corporate world before deciding to open a restaurant with a fitting name, “The Lost Cajun.”
April Schwalbach said, “We have been having crawfish boils at our home for years. The last time we did it, we had about 150 people in our backyard and we said to each other, ‘We’ve outgrown our yard!’”
The Lost Cajun is located in Atascocita in the back of the Spec’s shopping center. The 88-seat restaurant offers familiar Cajun staples, such as “Cat-touffee,” breaded catfish strips topped with crawfish etoufee and served on a bed of white rice, fried catfish platters, fried shrimp, fried oyster, several types of gumbo, crawfish boils (in season), red beans and rice, jambalaya, lobster bisque, Pasta Lafitte, chicken or shrimp alfredo, po-boys, and for dessert, homemade beignets. They also offer a kids menu.
Schwalbach said fresh fish, shrimp and alligator are delivered to the restaurant three times a week from South Louisiana. “Our prep team starts as early as 6 a.m. each day getting everything ready. We don’t have heat lamps or microwaves or any of that. Orders are cooked and served immediately. We have beignets that we make from scratch that are made to order. We also have a liquor license and sell a selection of Abita and other beers,” said Schwalbach.
The atmosphere at The Lost Cajun extends Louisiana hospitality beyond the food. The sound of Cajun music wafts through the air and beads hang on the wall.
“We have chalk walls and we also encourage children to draw on our walls and floors. We also offer a complimentary big birthday beignet and birthday beads. Our whole culture is based on hospitality, courtesy and respect. So you’ll hear three phrases from us frequently: ‘Please,’ ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re welcome,’” said Schwalbach.
“At The Lost Cajun, we really want you to feel like you are at your friend’s house, so when you come in for the first time (or any other time) we ask you if you would like a free sample tray. The tray has seafood gumbo, crawfish etoufee, lobster bisque, red beans with sausage, jambalaya, and chicken and sausage gumbo. The sampler sometimes makes ordering harder rather than easier,” said Schwalbach.
There are 12 other Lost Cajun restaurants across the U.S. Founded by Louisiana native Raymond Griffin; this is the first location in the Houston area. The other locations are in Colorado, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Texas. Griffin owned and operated Griffin Fishing Lodge in Louisiana for 15 years before moving to Colorado to escape the hurricanes. After relocating, Griffin opened the first Lost Cajun restaurant in Colorado.
“People just love the down-home atmosphere and the authentic Cajun food. Our seafood is like none that you have ever tasted and the beignets are just like the ones you get in New Orleans – maybe just a wee bit better,” said Griffin.
The Lost Cajun is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekend nights. The restaurant recently began opening at 7 a.m. to offer beignets and coffee (including chickory, decaf, regular and cafe ole). The Lost Cajun offers take out and reservations may be made for large parties. Call 281-570-4759 or visit thelostcajun.com/locations/humble-texas.