NEEDVILLE, Texas – Just southwest of Houston in Fort Bent County, you will find the city of Needville. It’s a little Texas town but filled with a tightly knit community. In this city, people support each other. In fact, there is so much love that one restaurant has become a staple and draws a lot of hungry folk each day for lunch and dinner.
Meet Bayou Boys PoBoys.
Founded in 2015, owner and operator Joel Barrios made it his mission to give Houston and Needville the best dang boudin you can find. The Louisiana native moved to Texas for an oil and gas career but shifted into the food industry after having no luck finding authentic cajun cuisines in Houston, specifically boudin.
With no culinary experience and a lot of trial and error, Barrios finally discovered that authentic cajun taste that reminded him of home. Barrios relied on the Needville community’s feedback through Facebook and customer reviews. It was a two-way street as he constantly engaged with every satisfied and not-so-happy customer. This allowed him to build many relationships with his community, building loyalty, and success that Bayou Boys sees today.
The Swamp Thing Po-Boy
Originally, I was planning to take on the “Gator Bait” challenge. However, with crawfish season in full swing, it was going to be a little difficult for his staff to make this unique bite and also manage their everyday menu items. We decided it was best to table the item and try Joel’s favorite meal, “The Swamp Thing Po-boy."
This wasn’t just your ordinary po’boy. What actually makes this meal a one-of-kind is that you can only find it at Bayou Boys is the way the po’boy is filled.
The bread is scooped, giving it a boat shape, then filled with its housemade catfish etouffee, housemade boudin balls and topped with lots of mozzarella cheese. If you’re willing to have a food coma, then this is the meal you should definitely order. According to Barrios, “if you eat the whole thing, you’ll be hurting." That’s exactly what happened to me.
When I asked Barrios where he came up with this meal, he said it was from one of his favorite restaurants he found back in Opelousas, Louisiana. It had been years since he’s had it but wanted to pay homage to this unique Cajun bite.
Joel is as sweet as Aunt B’s famous bread pudding
No joke. There was a reason I stayed longer than I was expecting to. What normally is an hour to two-hour shoot, ended up being five hours long. I enjoyed my conversation with Barrios and just learning how he operates his business. I even had the opportunity to see how he makes everything from scratch.
During my visit, he showed me his process of making homemade boudin. For three hours, we chatted as I watched him prepare for the lunch rush. It was great to see every ingredient that went into this 28-gallon cooker. When lunchtime came, Barrios was cooking, serving, refilling, operating and everything in between. He interacted with every guest and almost knew everyone by name.
Watch my full interview with Joel Barrios
I left with more than I could possibly chew
I was able to semi-successfully take on the foot-long “Swamp Thing Po-Boy.” There were still a few more bites left, but I couldn’t finish it. Barrios was right, I was hurting. It also didn’t help that I got a chance to taste Bayou Boy’s other delicious menu items including this catfish etouffee, gumbo and fries. Of course, I couldn’t skip out on dessert, so I had a bite of Aunt B’s famous bread pudding.
Aside, from the authentic food, Barrios also gave me some of his wisdom: It’s okay to be an outsider and build a business with lots of risks. My experience at Bayou Boys PoBoys is one I will never forget. Thanks Joel!
For more information about Bayou Boys Po-Boys, visit their Facebook page here.
What’s in the Swamp Thing?
- Po’boy base
- Boudin balls
- Crawfish etouffee
- Mozzarella cheese