One of Houston's favorite soul food destinations will soon have a new outpost in Independence Heights. Esther Lewis-Bernard will bring a second location of her beloved Esther's Cajun Café to 5007 N. Shepherd Dr. later this fall.
The new Esther's represents a significant upgrade from Lewis-Bernard's original location on Yale St., which will also remain open. The much larger space will allow for more seating, a larger kitchen, and, for the first time, a full bar with cocktails.
“We’re not moving; we’re growing,” Lewis-Bernard said in a statement. “We’ll still be right here in Independence Heights, where I raised my six children and my parents Nathaniel and Gladiola Lewis raised all 11 of their kids. This is our home, and we love serving our community.”
Designed by Lewis-Bernard's daughter Dru Evans, the restaurant's decor will feature a vintage stove that Esther's mother and aunt used to prepare family meals. In addition, the space will feature a private dining room, a curbside to-go window, and a spacious outdoor patio.
Operating with a larger kitchen will allow Esther's to double its steam tray offerings from eight to 16 selections. In addition to staples such as oxtails, smothered pork chop, and fried chicken, the additional capacity means that specials such as turkey necks and lamb chops will be featured more regularly. Of course, sides such as black-eyed peas, candied yams, cornbread dressing, and more will be present and accounted for.
The new location's cocktail offerings will be grounded in classic Southern sips. Expect choices such as frozen drinks, sparkling wines paired with fruit juice, and adult-style punches.
“This journey was an act of faith for Esther,” said Glashanda Lewis-Bernard, Esther’s oldest daughter and the brand’s business manager. “She trusted God’s word, and fourteen years later we’re still growing. The legacy continues from generation to generation as three of my mother’s children now lead as restaurateurs: my sister Dru Evans, my brother Lonnie Dow IV, and myself. This new location is going to allow us to serve everyone in even more ways, and we could not be more excited and grateful.”