First Look: Lil’ Easy Fine Cajun Food & Bar

Eastside dive promises casual Cajun and vibey outdoor boozing

photos by Haris Qureshi

“You’ve never met anybody who loves to eat crawfish more than I do,” says Stephen Shallcross, the owner of 2 Dine 4 Hospitality.

Shallcross, who hails from Baton Rouge and is co-owner of American diner Sawyer & Co. and Mexican restaurant De Nada Cantina, opened Lil’ Easy Fine Cajun Food & Bar at 5000 E. Cesar Chavez in a space that used to be a former cab stand and Shell gas station.

Shallcross teamed up with chef Evan Morgan, saying about him that, “He was the chef de cuisine at a place called Laffite’s Landing in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, where [owner] John Folse is kind of the most famous Cajun chef in Louisiana. [Morgan’s] mom is a legit Cajun lady from Saint Martinville, so he comes by Cajun honestly. I was teasing her, like ‘You’re not Cajun.’ She said, ‘Boy, I’m so Cajun that the Evangeline Oak was in my momma’s front yard.” I was like, Alright, that’s pretty damn Cajun!”

Having already been there a couple of times since last week’s opening, I’d say “pretty damn Cajun” is an accurate description of Lil’ Easy’s menu. The daiquiri and painkiller are not only strong but refreshing, and the food is just as good. We had a spread that included their cracklins, boudin, and seafood gumbo, as well as some shrimp and prime rib po boys. The staff was raving about their “prime rib debris” po boy and for good reason: The fried Parmesan bread and slow roasted prime rib slaps harder than a Bourbon Street bar fight. The food is some of the best casual Cajun fare in the city, and their vibey outdoor patio and unpretentious inside seating area and bar have already proven to be a popular neighborhood destination.

“We’re just gonna make it feel like a place where it’s perfectly natural for you to sit there and have a frozen drink and enjoy crawfish and eat grilled oysters and cheer for LSU and the Saints if you're into that thing,” says Shallcross. “Frozen drinks and Austin summers, they just go together to make it all better. We can all survive better with a chilly one in our hand.”

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Lil’ Easy Fine Cajun Food & Bar, Stephen Shallcross, Evan Morgan, Lil' Easy

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