Local eateries serve up the popular pastry and make it look so Big Easy
There’s a moment when you first take a bite of a beignet, when the pastry, still hot from frying, and the powdered sugar meet on your tongue and melt together. The feeling is so deeply satisfying that driving any distance, even hours east to Café Du Monde in New Orleans, seems so worth it.
But there’s no need to cross state lines for the fritters Café Du Monde made famous. Beignets — very good beignets — have found their way onto the menus of restaurants along the upper Texas Coast, giving the New Orleans establishment a run for its dough.
The Gumbo Diner
3602 Seawall Blvd., Galveston
With a menu chock full of such Cajun fare as po’boys and gumbo, it wasn’t a difficult decision to add beignets to the menu, said Danny Hart, a principal in Galveston Restaurant Group, which owns The Gumbo Diner and six other island dining concepts.
Joey Smecca, also a principal in Galveston Restaurant Group, told Hart: “I think we should try beignets.”
“So, I said ‘OK, as long as it’s a simple process,’” Hart said. And just like that, the hit item was born.
Beignets are served all day at The Gumbo Diner, and are available for takeout; a dozen goes for $10. Galveston Restaurant Group also sells beignets at Nonno Tony’s World Kitchen at Pier 21 in Galveston.
Maceo Spice & Import Company
2706 Market St., Galveston
Maceo Spice & Import Company is famous for its muffuletta sandwich. Now, Ronnie Maceo is giving customers another taste of The Big Easy.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday, the brunch crowd can enjoy golden beignets made from scratch by baker Phil Newton. And, with 20 years of experience under his apron, Newton says his beignets are the best on the island. His version of the pastry is served in traditional New Orleans style with a healthy coating of powdered sugar and can be paired with a cup of dark roast chicory coffee.
Seabrook Classic Cafe
2511 NASA Road 1, Seabrook
For decades, locals have been noshing on beignets at Seabrook Classic Cafe.
“Thirty years ago, our menu had a lot of Cajun flair to it,” owner Brad Emel said. “Primarily when K-Paul’s (Louisiana Kitchen) was popular … That was the craze back then.”
And while some dishes have changed over the years, the beignet has remained a staple at Seabrook Classic Cafe. The pastry is served with powdered sugar until 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. But sometimes confused — or creative — customers ask for another condiment.
“Texans seem to want to turn beignets into sopapillas,” Emel said. “So, they ask for honey.”
Shrimp ‘N Stuff Downtown
216 23rd St., Galveston
He might’ve been born in Galveston, but Chef Juan Cardona has a sweet spot in his heart for The Crescent City and its cuisine.
“I love going to New Orleans,” he said. “They’ve got a little place where they’ve got these chocolate beignets.”
And that unique spin has appeared on Shrimp ‘N Stuff Downtown’s menu. In addition to serving the classic style beignet, Cardona adds a little cocoa powder to make a chocolaty version of the delicious treat.
Beignets at this eatery are available until 11:30 a.m. daily and are served with a side of caramel, chocolate, or raspberry sauce upon request.