Category Archives: Cajun food

Red Beans closing Thursday, auctioning off decor next week

logoAs word has leaked out that Red Beans Bayou Grill at 7447 W. 21st St. will close at the end of business on Thursday, people have been swarming in for a last taste of jambalaya, etouffee and pork loin Thibideaux, said owner Bill Rowe.

Rowe, who has owned the restaurant since he bought it from founder Richard Waite in 2008, said that the Cajun/American restaurant is “just doing okay.” But his Blue Moon Caterers is doing more than okay.

“My catering company is just exploding,” he said. “I’ve more than tripled my sales since 2000, and it deserves all the attention I can give it.”

The Red Beans building lease was up, Rowe said, so rather than renew, he decided now was a good time to close the restaurant and focus on Blue Moon.

Richard Waite  (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Richard Waite (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Waite and some partners opened Red Beans in 1998. Rowe previously had owned  Willie C’s Cafe & Bar.

Next week, Rowe said, he will be auctioning off the wild Cajun decor that hangs in the dining room as well as the kitchen equipment.

The decor auction starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the restaurant and will include all the colorful items on the walls, including stuffed fish, animals and a stuffed boar’s head. Rowe says he also has an extensive beer can collection that might be worth something.

The kitchen equipment auction is at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

For more information, call 316-721-4100.

Jonbalaya food truck visiting Wichita this month

1511525_552060748215581_2106089247_o****UPDATE: The Jonbalaya folks said on Facebook that they weren’t going to make their Flight Safety gig on Tuesday but WILL be at Shelter Insurance on Wednesday.

Don’t get too excited if you spot the Jonbalaya food truck around town this month. It’s just visiting.

The truck is from Nashville, but the family that runs it has deep roots in Wichita. They decided to take a road trip to visit family here and decided they might as well serve their Cajun and Creole cuisine while they’re at it.

Jon Heidelberg, whose wife, Holly, grew up in Wichita, is the “Jon” of Jonbalaya. The family, which also includes 14-year-old Cedric and 12-year-old Kianna, has been operating the food truck in Nashville since 2010.

The Heidelbergs teamed up with the Flying Stove guys when they got to town and set up shop alongside them on Saturday at Auburn Hills.

The’ll be at Cessna Flight Safety, 1951 S. Airport Road, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and at Shelter Mutual Insurance at 2012 W. 13th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The truck will take a side trip to Kansas City and will be back serving with the Flying Stove from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 20, in Old Town.

Jonbalaya food truck serving with the Flying Stove this weekend

Jonbalaya food truck serving with the Flying Stove this weekend. Photo courtesy of Mariah Clair

They’ll also join the Flying Stove for a Saturday shift on June 21, but that location is yet to be determined. They’re serving at the Country Stampeded at Tuttle Creek Lake State Park the last week in June, then they’ll head back to Nashville.

While here, Jonbalaya is serving items such as jambalaya, shrimp and grits, catfish po boys and a tilapia bayou burrito.

The Heidelbergs are planning to update their location while in Kansas on their Twitter account.

For more information, call 675-852-0017.

All-you-can-eat (and listen to) Mudbugs

Poor little fella

Poor little fella

The sixth annual Mudbug Madness, an all-you-can-eat craw fish extravaganza featuring music from the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, is this weekend at Prairie Pines, 4055 N. Tyler Road.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights and offers ticket holders access to an old fashioned craw fish boil and Cajun buffet followed by Cajun music that has historically inspired a mega dance party.

And if you don’t know how to eat craw fish, don’t you worry. The band sings several instructional tunes.


Tickets are $32.95 if purchased online by 5:30 p.m. Thursday and also can be purchased at the door for $37.95.

Ticket holders get access to the buffet plus non-alcoholic drinks. There will be a cash bar on site, and the band will play from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

For more information, call 316-303-2097.

Aieeeee! The newest food truck is Cajun

The newest food truck to hit the Wichita streets serves Cajun food — alligator bites, shrimp, catfish, stuffed crab, etouffee and more.

Vautrot’s Cajun Goods is based in Derby and is owned by Sherri Walker and her parents, Martha and Louis Vautrot.

The family originally hails from Louisiana, and Martha and Louis have owned a restaurant called Vautrot’s Cajun Cuisine in Beaumont, Texas, for several years.  But they’re ready to retire from the restaurant, so they’re leaving it to their son to run and relocating to Derby, where Sherri moved with her husband — a Koch Industries employee. The three will operate the food trailer together.

So far, they’ve been invited to several festivals around the region. This weekend, they’re at the Old Settlers festival in Mulvane, and next weekend, they’ll be part of the food truck fleet populating BlackTop Nationals in Wichita.

On Wednesday, they parked the trailer at Tiger Financial Management at 32nd and Rock in Wichita. Sherri said she’d consider taking the truck to other Wichita locations in the future, but for the time being, the festival circuit is keeping her plenty busy.

Diners can keep track of where Vautrot’s Cajun Goods will be through its Facebook page.

For more information, call 409-504-5066.

Oeno gets Cajun on Saturday night

Oeno, the wine bar at 330 N. Mead, will put on its annual Cajun buffet, featuring music by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, on Saturday night.

The buffet will feature gumbo, a crawfish boil with corn and potatoes, red beans and rice, dirty rice and more and will cost $20 a person, which includes the cover to see the band. Those not taking part in the buffet will pay $5.

The buffet starts at 7 p.m., and the band will play from 8 to 11 p.m. For more information, call 316-440-5000.

Go mad with the Mudbugs this weekend

Your once-a-year opportunity to gorge yourself on crawfish without leaving Wichita is almost here.

The annual Mudbug Madness event at Prairie Pines is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, and if you order tickets online today, you can get a $5 discount.

The event features an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil and Cajun buffet plus music by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band. A barn dance party always breaks out.

Dinner is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. both nights. The band performs from 8 to 10:30. A cash bar is available.

Tickets are $32.95. To get them, you can either call 316-303-2037 or order online. If you order online, enter the code “Madness” for a $5 discount. This offer is good only through this evening.

Below is a video showing exactly how much fun it is to get mad with the Mudbugs.

Cajun Food Fest returns to River Festival

The Cajun Food Fest will return to this year’s Wichita River Festival.

The Cajun Food Fest, a popular Wichita River Festival event that was absent last year, will return this year accompanied by a big-name band.

The food fest, which traditionally has featured jambalaya, red beans and rice and more, is scheduled for June 6 on Kennedy Plaza. Nationally known band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, which has performed at halftime of the Super Bowl and on ESPN’s ESPY Award Show, will perform.

The Cajun Food Fest had been a 26-year tradition at the River Festival. But in 2012, the festival reorganized the layout, putting the main food court on Douglas, just in front of Kennedy Plaza. Goodwill Industries, which put on the Cajun Food Fest as a fundraiser, was told the event would have to move.

Goodwill officials didn’t think that would work, so they decided to stage the food fest on their own separate from the River Festival. That never worked out.

The main food court is moving back to its longtime home on Century II drive this year, said Mary Beth Jarvis, the new president and CEO of the festival. Kennedy Plaza will be a main staging area, and the Cajun Food Fest will move back to its original home.

The Cajun Food Fest was one of the events people told Jarvis they wanted back, she said.

“One of the first things I did in the initial weeks of being here was read through comments made at public meetings and post Riverfest debriefings,” she said. “This was clearly an event we wanted to find a way to make happen again.”

The Wichita River Festival is scheduled for May 31 through June 8.

Festival buttons go on sale May 10 at local AAA, Dillons and QuikTrip stores. This year, the festival plans to sell 25,000 $3 children’s buttons in addition to the usual $5 adult buttons.

For more information, visit

Fat Tuesday fun with oysters and Mudbugs

Mudbuggin,’ cut a mean ruggin’

Normally, Tuesday — the day only slightly better than Monday — is boring, flavorless and a little dull. (See: today.)

But next Tuesday is FAT TUESDAY, and that’ll be a whole different story.

A couple of events in town on Feb. 12 are designed to deliciously celebrate Fat Tuesday, the day when New Orleans goes nuts celebrating Mardis Gras.

One is an annual event at Heroes Sports Bar and Grill, 117 N. Mosley, that always fills the place with bead tossing and Cajun dancing. The Mudbugs Cajun and Zydeco Band will perform from 6:30 to 9:30, and the bar will offer Cajun food and drink specials. Admission is free, and the group will be debuting some new songs. Plus, kids are welcome.  It’s my 7-year-old’s favorite day of the year.

Down the street at 3750 E. Douglas, St. James Episcopal Church will be putting on its annual oyster dinner, which features all-you-can-eat oysters on the half shell, breaded and fried oysters, oyster stew, beer and wine.

The event, a fundraiser for Episcopal Social Services, involves 100 church volunteers and 500 pounds of fresh-shucked oysters. The church offers two seatings — one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 in advance by visiting the church office or calling by calling 316-683-5686. They’re also available at the door for $50.


Cajun Food Fest, Wichita River Festival parting ways

The Cajun Food Fest that’s been a part of the Wichita River Festival for 26 years will probably happen this year — but it won’t be during the River Festival, which opens in a little more than a week.

Goodwill Industries, the group that always has put on the fundraising event, is planning to stage it on its own, sometime before the end of the year.

The group decided to leave the River Festival after learning that it would no longer be able to stage the event at its traditional spot on Kennedy Plaza. The River Festival is moving the main food court to an area on Douglas, just in front of Kennedy Plaza, and felt the two sets of food vendors would compete with each other too much, said Riverfest President Janet Wright. The festival offered Goodwill Industries the chance to move the Cajun Food Fest to the Waterwalk Pavilion area.

“We didn’t think it would work there,” said Goodwill’s Gayle Goetz. The Waterwalk Pavilion area is targeted at an after-work crowd, Goetz said, and the Cajun Food Fest is targeted at families.

Attendance at the Cajun Food Fest has fallen over the past several years, she said. Last year was fairly disastrous for the event. Just as it was about to begin, tornado sirens sounded in downtown Wichita, sending Cajun Food Fest-goers scrambling for cover. Goodwill donated much of the food to The Lord’s Diner the next day.

Goetz said that the group is about two weeks away from announcing a different date for the Cajun Food Fest, which always features red beans and sausage as well as other Cajun favorites. She couldn’t say yet whether it’d be staged on Kennedy Plaza or elsewhere.

Cajun food lovers still can find a fix at the festival this year, though. The Waterwalk Pavilion will feature a concert by The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band and catered food by Da Cajun Shak, including fried catfish, hushpuppies, gator bites, red beans and rice and bread pudding. That event will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 7.

The Wichita River Festival is scheduled for June 1-9.

Fat Tuesday food and fun in Wichita

The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco band rockin' Heroes last year.

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and local restaurants are offering up all kinds of Cajun-ified fun.

One is Heroes, the Old Town sports bar that for the past four years has offered a Fat Tuesday party to end all Fat Tuesday parties. It features local Cajun and Zydeco band The Mudbugs plus Cajun food and drinks. (The Mudbugs’ drummer is my pal and Wichita Eagle photographer Jaime Green.) The band plays from 7 to 10 p.m., and Heroes welcomes crowds of all ages for this one. I’m bringing my Mudbuggin’ 6-year-old and a posse of her pals. All day long, Heroes will be serving chicken and sausage jambalaya, Southern catfish, red beans and rice and gumbo. They’ll also serve $3 hurricanes. Heroes is at 117 N. Mosley. For more information, call 316 264-4376.

Red Bean’s Bayou Grill, a Cajun restaurant at 7447 W. 21st St., also has plans for Tuesday. They’ll be passing out Mardis Gras beads to customers, plus serving oyster shots and beignets on Tuesday evening. For more information, call 316-721-4100.

Da Cajun Shak at 6249 E. 21st St. also plays to welcome Fat Tuesday revelers. The staff will be dressed up, the restaurant will be decorated and beads will be distributed. Reach Da Cajun Shak at 316-260-1486.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Wanna see a little Mudbugs video? Keep reading.
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