Drive just a very short distance northwest of Pattison on FM 1458 and swing a quick left to get to Boudin Café at 3808 Clemons Switch Road, and you’ll find a big red pavilion and a mountain of food waiting for you. Along with a good bit of Cajun hospitality from Herb and Tess Gaspard and their staff.
“It’s what we envisioned it to be, where people just come and sit and enjoy themselves and bring their families and their friends and their kids get to play outside,” Tess said. “It’s not like going into the city and having to wait an hour to eat – you just come here and relax.”
The Gaspards opened the bring-your-own-beer restaurant in stages after both Herb and Tess were assigned to Houston when they worked in the oil and gas industry a few years ago. They’d gotten burnt out on the corporate world and having started cooking their own boudin – spicy pork and rice sausage that is a Cajun tradition – at home, friends had encouraged them to open up a food truck, Herb said. They did, operating near the Jordan Ranch subdivision for a while before purchasing the land the restaurant is now on.
Herb said the 10.1-acre plot of land, located out in the country, away from the lights of Houston allows visitors to come out and enjoy the stars in the evening while trying the restaurant’s homemade-from-scratch menu, inspired by his and Tess’s families where they grew up in Louisiana. A practice the couple started after not being able to find a place with what they considered authentic boudin.
“My parents had made boudin their entire lives, as long as I can remember,” Herb said. “So that’s how the Boudin Café got started. We made boudin at home and folks started liking it, and … would ask us, ‘Hey, can we buy some from you?’ and, so, we’d sell them boudin and well, we found the niche for it.”
The menu has grown from a few boudin-inspired dishes to a rotating menu each week. Food includes alligator bites, boudin balls stuffed with cheese, crawfish and shrimp boils, po-boy sandwiches and Cajun-inspired empanadas, as well as pastries made by the couple’s daughter, Lanie Alleman, who is studying to become a pastry chef.
“All of the pastries that happen at the Boudin Café are created by Lanie,” Herb said. “And so, she’s developing those skills as we grow the business, and it’s been pretty remarkable to see.”
Lanie has brought in a variety of pastries, Herb said. One notable item was to make flakey oatmeal cookie sandwiches with a creamy glaze and an Oreo-inspired filling originally created by Lanie’s grandmother. Herb said the cookies went quickly with many of the restaurant’s customers eating some on-site and asking for more for the road.
After opening at their current location on Dec. 4, the Gaspards have been brainstorming how to grow the business. They’re tentatively looking at hosting a gun show in May of this year and Tess said she is considering partnering with a neighbor to set up carriage rides on the property. During days when the restaurant is closed, the family is considering setting Boudin Café up as an events venue.
Still, Herb said the main thing they want to do is make sure the restaurant is part of the community and helps to build Pattison up as part of the community. Staff is primarily family with Herb, Tess, Lanie and Tess’s brother, Jeremiah Magnon, being assisted by two hired-on staff. Herb believes that if they all work hard, the restaurant can be a centerpiece for families in Pattison and the Katy area.
“Five years from now, we would like to see this place as somewhat of an iconic place to come,” Herb said. “Where you can find real Cajun cooking with Cajun hospitality right here in your backyard.”
Correction: The Gaspard's daughter's name is Lanie Alleman. This correction has been appended throughout.