Cajun flavor in the Bluegrass
If you love cajun food, you must know about Bourbon n’ Toulouse here in Chevy Chase. The atmosphere is friendly no matter if it is your first time there, or a regular face to feed. If you are looking for a restaurant that truly embodies southern hospitality, it is found here! The staff from cashier to owner greets you with a smile, and there is always fresh tasty food being made that day. And when you look around you will see such an eclectic group of patrons: young and old, hipster or preppy, families, friends, dates, office lunches. Nothing brings people together like good food and some ice cold Ale-8-1. Kevin Heathcoat is one of the co-owners for BNT, and he was gracious enough to take a few moments to answer our Cha Cha’s questionnaire! There was laughter, good food, and more laughter.
T: When did you know you wanted to own a restaurant?
K: There are many days I wonder about that…(laughs) Well I was an elementary school teacher.
K: Yes, it was a four month career.
T: What school?
K: It was a school in the middle of a corn field in Indiana (where I’m from). I was filling in for a teacher that was on maternity leave. And it was awful. I however still draw 18 cents from the teacher’s retirement fund. (laughter) I’m saving up for a Snickers. (laughter)
T: I’m totally writing that down….
K: (laughs) Everything is on the record for sure…no matter what shit I say…
T: Done! So why Lexington? What brought you here?
K: My business partner, Will is from here…We met when I moved to Indianapolis to see if I wanted to continue being a teacher. I ended up working at the this irish pub waiting tables…you know how it is [because I am a waitress at Shamrock Bar & Grille] staying at work till 4am was cutting into my social life…(laughs) So I started working for this guy Joe from New Orleans at a place called Yats, that was pretty much like this place. I worked for him about two years, by then Will and I were like his top guys. One day he took me across the street, over chicken wings and beer, and said, “Kevin, you’re fired.” (makes a shocked face) I was like, “What?!” He told me, “you and Will are going to go on and open your own restaurant, doing this…I don’t care what city it’s in.” And then he told Will the same thing, but told him he could work up until he had to leave because he had a family to support. He was set on Kentucky because both sets of grandparents were here for their baby. Me? I was 25 and single with not a care in the world…and said “Sure! Let’s go!”
T: That’s awesome! I love it!
K: It wasn’t our idea, it was decided for us…really stupidity got us this far! We just knew how to cook! Yeah, Will was like “You gotta go visit Lexington first man!” I was set to go, but we decided to visit anyway in the middle of February. We came down from Indiana, had a great time, and on our way back there was a snow storm. We ended up wrecking the car into a ditch on the side of the interstate! And I was like, “See?! I told you we shouldn’t have come down to visit!” (laughs)
T: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
K: One super power?! (Yes, only one) See! I told you these were hard questions! (laughs) I would not want to see the future but want to be able to see the past. So I could go back to the first four years and relive the drunken haze that was Bourbon n’ Toulouse. (laughs) It was a good time (from what I remember)
T: You are having a party, what five guests would you invite? They can be dead or alive…go!
K: Wow! Um, definitely Maggie Mayhem [also known as our technicolor tressed Maggie Blankenship] because I feel like she probably has a few stories to tell (Yes, Maggie likes to have a good time! I have a few stories I could tell ya…) (laughter) Bob Ross, because behind all those happy trees, that guy has to have a good time (by one substance or another). Will, my business partner, because we’re kind of attached at the hip…and when we get together its like we form one brain. Nelson Mandela, I met him when I was about 12, and wasn’t impressed (laughs) but now I think I would be! (laughs) And one more? I would invite my mother (she passed away) I would fill her in on what has happened…although I might be a little embarrassed to tell her some of it. (laughs) That’s quite a bunch, huh?
T: What is one thing you can’t live without? First thing that comes to mind is…
K: My wife and kid. Definitely.
T: What is one place you think is a Lexington landmark? Like if someone was coming here, this is where they would need to go…
K: I would say a bar and dining tour…starting at CCI (Chevy Chase Inn for those who don’t know), shots at Charlie Brown’s, stop as Stella’s for lunch, burgers and car bombs at Sidebar…and in the early days of BNT we would break in here and have more drinks and hit up the microwave…(laughs) just depends on what era you wanna focus on….
***Don’t forget Fat Tuesday is coming up on February 12th and Bourbon n’ Toulouse will be hosting festivities! Stop by, get filled up on drinks and the best cajun food! And we hear that Kevin’s wife won’t allow him to come home on that night, so if you wanna offer him a place to stay…I’m sure he would appreciate that!