The latest addition to East Bank is the realization of a 14-year-long dream.
“The very first time owning my own restaurant was brought up was when I was an assistant manager at Texas Roadhouse back in 2004,” said BeauxJax Crafthouse co-owner Beau Hays.
BeauxJax Crafthouse and Rougaroux Bar opened in Bossier City’s East Bank District July 12. The casual dining, Cajun-themed restaurant will feature a large bar offering beer, specialty cocktails and adult shake options with live music, and indoor and patio seating. The bar is an adjoining 21-and-up game room to feature a saloon style bar, pool tables, darts and video poker.
Even though it took more than a decade to reach this point, it’s still been a process that started not all that long ago.
BeauxJax began with a food truck in 2015 and a commissary on Cross Lake in Shreveport. They began catering across Shreveport-Bossier before they gained a foothold in Bossier by taking their food truck to neighborhood subdivisions in north Bossier and then started catering to employees of CSRA, now GDIT.
The move to Bossier permanently was one that made sense to Beau and his partner/chef “Peanut.”
“This side of the river has cleaned up their old downtown, parking is free and easier, and we have access to I-20. We’re close to the casinos and Louisiana Boardwalk,” Hays reasoned.
Hays said they also wanted somewhere suited to local, homegrown businesses.
“We didn’t want to have to compete with chains. There’s never been an area here that’s dedicated to local businesses.”
Plus, he said Bossier City has been crucial throughout the process.
“The city has been patient and helpful. They would call us and help us find places around here, they helped guide us through the process,” Hays said. “That’s the type of place where you want your business to be.”
For someone whose dream as an eight-year-old was to own a restaurant, it’s been a winding journey to this point. One that almost never came to be.
“I got real close to giving up,” Hays recalled. “I gave up the restaurant business and went into the oil field because I was married with two kids and needed benefits. I came back to it because the food truck was just something that was fun. This came about as our mission grew and was something we’ve always talked about.”
“I’ve always enjoyed the restaurant business and this is what I wanted to do.”
Now that his dream lives as a brick and mortar restaurant and bar inside a repurposed building, the realization hasn’t hit him yet.
“We haven’t slowed down enough to where it’s sunk in. We’ve gone from 24-hours per day working on getting the restaurant ready to open to working 24-hours per day at the restaurant. Eventually it will sink in,” Hays said.
The reaction from their customer base has been overwhelming for the owners, with clientele from the subdivisions they frequented in the food truck making their way to East Bank.
“This is their first time seeing (the East Bank District) since it’s been redone. They’re super excited. It’s a whole new batch of people checking out East Bank,” Hays said.
In only a few days since they had opened, though, Hays said the reaction exceed their hopes, revealing, “We couldn’t believe the turnout we had on day one and day two was twice as much. I feel like we’ve leveled up.”
For those eyeing a lunch or dinner at the newest eatery in the newest part of town, Hays want them to know they should come ready for a good time.
“You put the product first and get to know the people. I want to sit at your table and talk to you. That was our pull on the lake — we knew everybody that came in there, I knew what you did for a living, I knew people’s orders when they came in the door. I would love for it to get that way here.”