Cajun Tailgators

Editor’s Note: As of June 30, 2016, Cajun Tailgators has closed its downtown Plano location in search of a new, bigger location. The food truck is still in operation throughout DFW.

Tucked just beyond the busy intersection of 15th and Avenue K in an unassuming café, Cajun Tailgators almost feels like a secret you want to keep to yourself. Almost. But food this genuinely good just begs to be shared with friends and family.

Open for only a year this December, the restaurant is growing in popularity every day. A crawfish boil and block party they held this past March with Kelly’s Eastside sold 1,000 pounds of crawfish in just four hours. As soon as you enter the place, it feels homey. And customer service is incredible, a benefit of the owners being there daily.

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In stark contrast to their quaint restaurant, the Cajun Tailgators food truck is a rolling party on wheels. A larger-than-life saxophone is splashed across both sides of the truck in hues of purple and gold, of course. Beads hang from the mirrors, stickers from local breweries are plastered to the window. A big screen television and speakers broadcast the game (don’t even ask which one).

Popular in the Dallas food truck scene for almost three years now, the truck is constantly traveling to festivals, weddings, offices and corporate events. Owner Ann Keady says she gets 50-100 emails a day requesting the truck. When not traveling around DFW, the truck is parked next to their restaurant in Plano. Ann and her husband Jason worked with the City of Plano this summer to help ease restrictions on food trucks in our city (it couldn’t have hurt that their restaurant is practically across the street from the municipal offices.)

Owner and food truck driver, Ann Keady
Owner and food truck driver, Ann Keady

One thing that doesn’t change between the two venues is the food. It’s REAL. CAJUN. FOOD (not Texas faux-Cajun). Everything is made from scratch, including the sauces and dressings. Fresh poboy bread and pistolette rolls are brought in a few times a week from beloved Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans. The crispy, yet cheesy crawfish pistolettes are one of their customers’ favorites, but we’re also big fans of the Natchitoches meat pies, which are pretty hard to find around here. Other Cajun favorites include chicken and sausage gumbo, blackened catfish, and live boiled crawfish (during crawfish season in the spring).

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Chicken and sausage gumbo // photo by Jim Muise

And where do the recipes come from? “They came from my husband’s head,” laughs Ann. “It took two years for somebody to actually write them down.” Being from Louisiana, I know exactly what that means. Recipes are usually handed down from generation to generation, without pen ever once being put to paper.

Both having grown up in south Louisiana, Ann met her husband Jason Key met while attending LSU. After moving to North Texas, they missed the food and the culture.  “We just love Cajun food. We love LSU tailgating . . . the food and the people,” says Ann. Living in McKinney and driving the truck back and forth to Dallas, it made sense to open a storefront right in between in Plano. “Plus, downtown has a really cool feel.”

The future for Cajun Tailgators looks bright. Business is booming and they just signed the lease on their second restaurant in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market.

 

Cajun Tailgators Website >

 

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