After years of working in the food industry, brothers Steven and Patrick O’Bryan decided to open up their own restaurant. They had a vision for what they wanted, but more than that, they knew what they didn’t want. “We wanted to open up a place that wasn’t a typical fried Cajun seafood restaurant,” Steven says.
What they did want was a place where customers could get “swamp edge cuisine” in an urban Cajun atmosphere. “We do upscale food, but it’s very casual,” Steven says. “So, you can come in, relax and enjoy a chef-inspired dish, and yet not pay the prices that you see in an upscale restaurant. Then, at the same time, we wanted it to be a place where you could get a nice bottle of wine and have a date night, but also could bring your child here in a high chair.”
Three years ago, the brothers launched Bon Temps Grill on Verot School Road. They created the menu by covering the wall of Steven’s office with Post-It notes listing their must-have dishes. Then, chef Brad Berwick took over and put his gourmet spin on it. To give the restaurant a homey feel, they added bricks and boards salvaged from their grandmother’s house.
Bon Temps Grill became so successful that the O’Bryans decided to do an express version. Their venue of choice: the Oil Center. “We had wanted to move to the Oil Center for a very long time,” Steven notes. “We believe in the Oil Center. We like to see how it’s now upand-coming. It’s actually to a point right now where the occupancy is very full with food rentals. And, we wanted to do the same concept as in the other restaurant.”
Space became available on Heymann Boulevard at the former ReadyFit Meals location. It was perfect for what the guys had envisioned — a place where people who were time-pressed could get a quick, delicious plate lunch or grab-and-go items at a reasonable price.
On Jan. 25, Bon Temps Grill Express opened for business. Locals quickly embraced the gourmet plate lunch and takeout concept. From the hot line, customers select an entrée accompanied by a starch and choice of side item. This is not your typical plate lunch, as main courses include mesquite grilled meat loaf, crawfish étouffée pot pie, apple and tasso-stuffed pork loin, grilled chili butter shrimp and a fresh catch of the day served with a choice of sauces.
Lighter options include kale, garden or spinach salads, which you just grab from the cooler and choose your topping — chicken, shrimp, tuna or Creole Cobb (shrimp and crab) — at the counter. You can also get a gourmet wrap or sandwich — Bahnmi, Turkey Fig, Thai Cajun chicken lettuce wrap, Caesar chicken wrap and Curry chicken wrap — and have the bread toasted on the panini press.
Word spread quickly about the delicious upscale cuisine and ultra-fast service. In its fi rst three weeks of business, the place was consistently packed during the lunch rush. “We’re doing great,” Steven says. “We’re right where we wanted it to be.”
Bon Temps also serves food at the Youngsville Sports Complex and will soon be launching a location at PHI. The brothers’ dream is to expand the express concept to the limit. “We’d like to have 20 of these one day,” Steven adds. “We’d love to have Bon Temps Express in airports.”
Located at 317 Heymann Blvd., Bon Temps Grill Express is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The phone number is (337) 534- 4601, and website is www.bontempsgrillexpress.com.