This past winter, Griffin found himself feeling lethargic on return flights from new openings. His doctor told him, frankly, he needed to ditch 10,000 feet and return to the Bayou. The story goes that Griffin, who ran a fishing lodge down in Lafitte, Louisiana, a town about 25 miles south of New Orleans, converted his business to a housing facility for BP workers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Gustav, followed up by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The tumultuous stretch led Griffin and his late wife, Belinda, to pack an RV and vacation out to Durango, Colorado. They made it as far as Frisco and ended up sticking. And that’s where his background as a Cajun cook took on new life and met a shocked, but fervent audience.
Now 63, Griffin’s doctor told him it was time to go home. He planted his flag in Slidell, a city of about 30,000 residents on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before The Lost Cajun’s unlikely path took another twist.
Griffin is sitting at home one day when he gets a call from Keith Williams. Williams and Griffin were in the car business together some two decades ago, and he came across a story about The Lost Cajun that piqued his interest. He wanted to open one in the exact state Griffin placed an X through from the outset.
“I said Keith, listen, I will never, never open one in Louisiana. I don’t want the headline to be The Lost Cajun comes home … and gets his ass kicked,” Griffin says.
Times had changed, however. It took only a couple of nights on the town for Griffin to realize he underestimated how good The Lost Cajun’s food really was. Sitting around the table at a local, revered restaurant, a franchisee told Griffin, “If you aspire to be this, I want out.” And this was a triple-figure meal with expensive expectations.
“So after about two months of thinking about it, and eating the food here, and I’m not saying anything bad, but here’s the thing: my stuff is as good or better than a lot of Cajun spots,” Griffin says. “And I know my service is superior. That’s one of the things that we stand on firmly.”
“I tell people all the time. I tell them every day. My food ain’t pretty. It just tastes good,” he adds. The Slidell location is set to open this summer.