Restaurants

A ‘Lost’ restaurant that’s been a hit in Mansfield is going to find its way to Keller

The Cat-touffee at The Lost Cajun combines two of the restaurant’s signature items: fried catfish and crawfish étouffée. A Mansfiled location opened in February 2018; a Keller location is expected to open in the fall at 721 Keller Parkway. Five to six more locations are planned for north Tarrant over the next few years.
The Cat-touffee at The Lost Cajun combines two of the restaurant’s signature items: fried catfish and crawfish étouffée. A Mansfiled location opened in February 2018; a Keller location is expected to open in the fall at 721 Keller Parkway. Five to six more locations are planned for north Tarrant over the next few years. Courtesy of The Lost Cajun

In February 2018, Lost Cajun opened a location in Mansfield. It’s been well-reviewed on social media and in the Star-Telegram, where contributor Malcolm Mayhew mentioned that expansion is planned, including a Keller location.

Friday brought news of the Keller location, which will open at 721 Keller Parkway sometime in the fall. And if you’re a Cajun food fan who lives in north Tarrant, get ready: Five to six locations are planned for the north Tarrant area during the next few years.

The Lost Cajun is called that because its Louisiana-raised founder, Raymond Griffin, opened the flagship location in Summit County, Colorado (skiing mecca Breckenridge is the county seat). According to “The Legend of the Lost Cajun,” which is on the online menu, Griffin and his (now-deceased) wife, Belinda, had owned a fishing lodge in Louisiana until Hurricane Katrina and other big storms hit, as well as damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Having had enough, they moved to Colorado, where they opened a gumbo shop in Frisco ... Colorado (Frisco is a short drive from Breckenridge).

From there, locations spread across Colorado, Texas and to such outposts as Henderson, Tennessee, and Greenville, South Carolina. The chain is now based in Louisiana, so things have kinda come full circle

Keller owner-operators Jason “Jay” and Janice Smith discovered Lost Cajun while visiting family in Midland. They liked the food and, after learning about a franchise opportunity, decided to open a Keller location. Jay was born and raised in New Orleans; Janice is a Texas native but was raised just outside of New Orleans. They met in high school and married in Metairie, which is in the New Orleans metro area. again, there is a Hurricane Katrina story here: The Smiths are originally from southern Louisiana and moved to DFW shortly after Katrina struck in 2005. You can read their whole story here.

According to Mayhew’s review, founder Griffin’s version of Cajun “means complex rouxs that take hours and patience to make; square beignets, not doughnut-shaped; and catfish that comes breaded in corn flour, not the usual cornmeal.” Mayhew added that Griffin says the recipes and cooking methods come from his native Barataria, Louisiana. The Mansfield store has a party atmosphere that you can probably expect in Keller, but the restaurant is also family-friendly.

“The menu is made up primarily of Cajun-Creole standards: jambalaya, fried gator, po-boy sandwiches and various gumbos, along with pastas, sides and salads,” Mayhew wrote. He praised the lobster bisque and the “Cat-touffee,” a plate featuring fried catfish and crawfish étouffée. In a nice touch in Mansfield, every table receives complimentary samples of all the gumbos and soups.

The 721 Keller Parkway location is in a strip center at the intersection with Bourland Road that is also home to a location of Funky Baja;’s Cantina, Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery and other restaurants and retail (The Lost Cajun is actually going into the former home of Baja Cantina, which was at the west end of the center; it closed and merged with sister restaurant Funky Baja’s Cantina on the east end.) The Lost Cajun Keller website is already up at https://thelostcajun.com/locations/keller-tx.

The Mansfield location is at 1530 E. Debbie Lane.

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