A taste of the bayou is coming to Lower Burrell.
Taylor Chappell, who will be the head chef of Bayou in the Burrell, recommends those new to Cajun food try the gumbo.
“You can’t go wrong with that,” she said.
Bayou in the Burrell is expected to open the second week of August in the building housing Hanes Tavern on Leechburg Road, executive chef Tim Emery said.
Stan Marciniak, who has owned Hanes Tavern since 1977, still is running the tavern in the lower level.
Emery is owner and executive chef of On the Square Industries, which also includes Infuzed Bistro, which he and his wife, Toni, opened in Brackenridge in September 2019.
Emery said he came up with the concept for Bayou in the Burrell after realizing that 90% of his business for Cajun food at Infuzed Bistro was coming from the Lower Burrell area.
“A place that is not a pizza shop, or bar food, or a chain is something that area needs very badly,” Emery said. “It’s going to be an affordable place to have something different.”
In addition to gumbo, the menu will include jambalaya, fried and blackened fish and gator — done correctly, Emery said. They’re planning a crawfish boil every Friday.
The atmosphere will be laid back, Emery said, where customers order at the counter and then sit down and have their food brought to them. Everything will be made from scratch, nothing premade or pre-cooked.
Emery promises an immersive, flavorful experience.
“When you walk through that door, it will be like you’re walking into a place in Louisiana,” he said.
Chappell, 27, of Penn Hills graduated from culinary school at Bidwell Training Center in June. She met Emery through youth football — their sons play on the same team.
Having a passion for cooking since she was a kid, Chappell runs her own soul food catering business, JuDells Ea’tory. It’s named after three of her four children — Deandre, 6, who is called Junior or “Ju;” Della, 4; and Tory, 2. She launched it in July 2019, before the birth of her fourth child, Titan, who is 1.
The restaurant is under construction.
“I’m just excited,” Chappell said. “I can’t wait until it all comes together. We’re bringing a new style of food to the area.”
As he nears the end of his career and business, Marciniak, 78, of Monroeville said he has a feeling Emery and Chappell will be successful.
“I’m optimistic from what I see,” he said. “I think the area needs something different, something new. Everybody’s got wings, everybody’s got burgers, everybody’s got pizza.
“People want something new. They want something different. Everybody’s got that other stuff,” he said. “If he has a good menu and a reasonably priced place, I think he’s going to be successful. The location is a winner.”
Emery opened Infuzed Bistro just months ahead of the outbreak of the covid pandemic. He found a way to not only survive but thrive.
“I followed the rules. I followed everything,” he said. “What really saved us is we conformed to what came at us. We just did our thing and rolled with the punches.”
Emery and his wife still live above the bistro with their children. They bought the building in September 2020.
A month after the pandemic started, Emery began requiring memberships to eat inside the bistro, and they remain required. A membership costs $20 per month, and having received a covid vaccination is among the rules, which must be followed or else fines are assessed.
Memberships aren’t required to get takeout or eat outside.
Emery said he has 160 members, with no more available.
“I will never open this back up to normal service,” he said.
Memberships will not be required in Lower Burrell.
Part of the growth and success of Infuzed Bistro has included events outside the walls of the restaurant, such as participating in the monthly Tarentum Night Markets with the Manos Gallery, and recently hosting a chef’s table dining event at the art gallery.
Infuzed will have barbecue at a new craft beer festival planned for Aug. 28 at Dreshar Stadium in Tarentum. Chappell will be there with soul food.
“We feel that we’re blanketing the area creating food culture that wasn’t here,” Emery said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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