I know many of you have been dying to know the future of the building that used to house Henry’s Memphis BBQ and Big Lick BBQ. You’ve seen the red and blue paint replaced by bold purple and yellow paint at the highly visible spot on Brandon Avenue across from the Towers Mall Kroger and you’ve been quite curious about it.
Me too! And I finally caught up with the lady who could fill me in. Her name is Yolonda Jimenez, she is a native of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, and she is ready to bring her Cajun and Creole specialties to the people of Roanoke. The restaurant will be called Bayou Lucy’s. Lucy is her nickname “because there’s never a dull moment in my life,” Jimenez said.
This will be her first restaurant. She says she’s cooked in the French Quarter in New Orleans but most of her recipes and experience come from growing up around Cajun and Creole cuisine and cooking for her friends and family members. She said the menu at Bayou Lucy’s will include gumbo, jambalaya, oyster po’ boys, shrimp po’ boys, crawfish po’ boys, red beans and rice and court bouillon, a rich red wine gravy fortified with seafood and served over rice.
She’ll also be selling what she says is her famous cornbread, which friends nicknamed “cake bread” because of its flavor and consistency. In addition, Jimenez plans to apply for an ABC license so she can serve New Orleans-style daiquiris.
Jimenez, 50, was born in New Orleans and grew up in the Ninth Ward. She’s lived off-and-on in Virginia, where her three grown children live, and said she is here to stay now. She said she lost her grandmother in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; her uncle, who had health problems, had to come live with her after he was rescued by a helicopter from the roof of a building. He didn’t like to eat anything that didn’t taste like home, she said, so he “really made me concentrate on getting back into the heart of cooking New Orleans foods.”
Jimenez is shooting for a late October opening. As you can see in the picture, she still has some work to do, including changing out the signs. Oh, and that purple and gold color scheme was chosen because those are Mardi Gras colors, along with green.
“Cooking is my delight,” Jimenez said. “If I can get into your stomach I can get into your heart. I love people and I love to feed them.”
Well, we love to eat, Lucy, so we’ll be seeing you soon.