Touch of Cajun Café serves up homemade Louisiana dishes

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, February 12, 2020

NEDERLAND — Kenny Mings grew up in a Cajun household outside Abbeyville, La.

Today, the owner of Touch of Cajun Café, 1147 Boston Ave., brings the unique and traditional flavors of his childhood to Southeast Texas.

Touch of Cajun Café began 14 years ago as catering only, until Mings eventually invested in a food truck and, later, a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

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“I was doing big, 10,000-pound crawfish boils,” he said. “I needed a place to store crawfish, so I bought this cooler off of Twin City Highway with the intentions of not selling to the public. It was meant to be for catering only.

Kenny Mings, owner of Touch of Cajun Café, stands outside the restaurant by the outdoor glasses specialty menu.

“Well, my friends knew I could get crawfish and would ask me to get them sacks for certain weekends. All of a sudden, it led to their friends calling and their friends calling, so we started selling crawfish to the public and it went crazy.”

Mings spent sometime selling crawfish at local bars across Jefferson County. However, due to its popularity, Mings decided to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant in Nederland last June.

When Mings first bought the property in May 2019, he intended for the café to only serve crawfish in season from January to July.

The restaurant now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, dishing out unique Cajun cuisine and homemade meals such as shrimp ettouffee, smothered pork chops, chicken fried steak, potatoes and sausage, hamburgers, gumbo and more.

Many of the traditional style Cajun meals on the menu come from Mings’ wife and co-owner, Deanna.

Touch of Cajun Café will be selling a Valentine’s Day special with a trio deluxe platter.

“Everything we make here comes from scratch,” she said. “We hand batter everything, we hand cut our meat, our fries, everything. Even the vegetables we get here come fresh. We don’t buy anything frozen. If I can make it, I won’t buy it. The sauces are all hand made, everything served here is made here, fresh and original.”

While the menu has expanded and is ever changing, Touch of Cajun Café’s standout item remains the crawfish.

“I grew up poor,” Mings said. “We didn’t have anything. My mother, a single woman, worked two jobs. Back then the crawfish was cheap, only 30 to 40 cents a pound, so that’s what we ate in bulk. At an early age, I was pulling the strainer out of the pot. That love just progressed over the years and has been perfected.”

Mings chalks up the flavor and popularity of the crawfish to his unique method of cooking.

“We don’t sprinkle or dust our crawfish,” he said. “All of the restaurants in this area sprinkle the spices on the outside — we don’t do that. You can literally eat, wipe your hands off and go about your day. Your fingers aren’t burning. Your mouth isn’t watering. It’s not about the spice. It’s about the flavor. Our crawfish has a lot of flavor and keeps you going back for more.”

Touch of Cajun Café’s chicken and sausage gumbo is a restaurant favorite.

The crawfish also comes directly from Mings’ own crawfish farm, where it is purged, handpicked, boiled and served all in Southeast Texas.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “If you don’t love it, it’s not going to come out right. The looks on people’s faces when they eat it is well worth it. A lot of people have never had anything like this. A lot of people say it’s a lot like a backyard boil or sitting in their grandparents’ house. That’s exactly how we want it.”

Crawfish is sold after 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to close Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant also hosts a daily special.

“Our slogan,” Mings said, “is that there is something for everyone.”

Touch of Cajun Café will also be hosting a Valentine’s Day special with a trio deluxe platter including 8 pounds of crawfish, two snow crab clusters, a pound of boiled shrimp, two sausage links, two corn and four potatoes with butter and dipping sauce for $69.99.

For more information, visit Touch of Cajun Café on Facebook or call the restaurant at 409-853-1888.