Unless you’ve been hiding in the swamp, you have heard the buzz about Celina’s most anticipated restaurant opening, Bongo Beaux’s Bourre Palace & Cajun Kitchen. And what seems like just a fun name for an eccentric restaurant concept, is actually much more.
Radical Hospitality Group, which owns a number of other quirky north Texas restaurants such as LSA Burger Co, Bumbershoot Barbecue, Barley & Board, Earls 377 Pizza and more, is the team behind the Bongos.
Before the beads were hung or the gumbo was cooking, we met with the folks from Radical Hospitality to see what all the talk was about and we were blown away. Celina folks pride ourselves on representing Bobcat Heart in our schools, in our businesses and in our community and we can recognize that giving spirit in others right away.
The first beaux’s we met were Kjell Knutson, Celina resident and COO of Radical Hospitality and Bongo Beaux’s GM, Matt Elgiar. Since we didn’t have a planned meeting we were not expecting much more than a pop-in, but we were immediately given the grand tour and invited to hear what would be the first of many stories!
It started with a man named Beaux. Beaux was from Louisiana and had always dreamed of playing bongos in a jazz band. Turned away at every corner because, “You can’t have bongos in a jazz band,” Beaux did what all jazz musicians do….he felt the music, bongos and all.
Growing up in Metairie, Louisiana, Elgair has generations of cajun cooking knowledge coming through this kitchen. And while you will find the authentic staples such as gumbo, red beans and rice (which Elgair says is his mother’s own recipe) and raw oysters you would expect at Beaux’s, there will be some surprises. “A lot of thought and preparation went into each and every dish on the menu. And each one has a story,” says Elgiar. “Jazz wouldn’t exist without ragtime, blues, or spirituals and just like jazz, at Beaux’s you will experience something brand new and soul stirring,” added Knutson.
When you walk into Beaux’s you will always be greeted by the staff as you make your way to the menu board where you order right at the kitchen. “The kitchen is truly the heart of a restaurant and we wanted to break down those typical barriers right from the start of the dining experience,” said Elgiar.
As you make your way to the drink station, you will most certainly notice the mismatched glasses from which to choose. This is not done by accident. As a matter of fact, every piece of furniture, glassware, silverwear and decor was purchased right here in Celina at Gracebridge Resale. They also focused on hiring staff from the community, celebrating the values and morals our community has instilled into the kids and young adults and letting that show through to incredible service at Beaux’s. We shared with you the community projects the managment and staff did throughout Celina during the construction phase already. From the very start, they were already giving back to Celina before they earned a single penny. That’s Bobcat Heart.
Beaux’s boasts an exciting patio experience with outdoor games for family and friends and live music every Friday and Saturday night. If you fancy a drink from the bar, I suggest their signature drink, a paint can shaken hurricane. Really. Have one.
While eating, you will be assisted by a team of servers, food runners, bartenders and managers. It’s an all-hands on deck approach, and it works.
When you are all hushpuppied out, assuming you have a little room left in the tank, you will not want to miss out on the Bongo Beaux’s Bananas Foster. It’s got an empanada feel – and yes, there’s a story for that one, also.
I encourage you to talk to the staff, hear the stories. They are really pretty incredible. One of my favorites is the strawberry salad story.
We drove by on Saturday in the early evening and the patio was filled with families and kids laughing and enjoying one another. Bongo Beaux’s gives downtown a little more energy.
The takeaway from this is that Bongo Beaux’s is different in all the right ways.
Each experience will be a unique adventure.
After all, “We’re all bongos in the jazz band of life,” they say.