It was 2014 at Chalk the Block when El Paso was first introduced to pork parfait from a festive food truck manned by an equally entertaining chef calling out orders through a loudspeaker in a Louisiana drawl. El Paso had never experienced such a truck and it was love at first bite after bite of layered pulled pork, mashed potatoes and baked beans.
Jonbalaya food truck had just rolled in from Tennessee after dominating Nashville’s culinary scene, including winning best ribs in town. With roots in El Paso and Louisiana, Chef Jon Heidelberg moved back to be closer to family, and within two years, he opened a sit-down restaurant located near the Western Tech college in the northeast.
Every menu item has something up its sleeve, right down to the refreshing sweet tea accented with the warmth of ginger. All the NOLA standards are served here, from jambalaya to etouffee, to po’boys and a gumbo loaded with the holy trinity of vegetables, chicken and andouille sausage in an aromatic roux over rice. Southern favorites are not to be missed, like the chicken & waffles that can be made southern fried or Nashville hot, grits made with not one, but seven cheeses, bacon mac and cheese and the best fried okra you’ve ever had due to Cajun seasoning and a double-fried breading.
Unique to our area, but not Texas, are the puffy tacos served with parboiled Cajun rice. Flash fried flour tortillas puff up, but still have room to hold a good amount of meat or even tofu that’s been marinated, baked and finished off on the grill and topped with pineapple-habanero slaw, Sriracha, house-made remoulade and thinly shaved house-pickled jalapenos.
But it’s the Tiger wings (aka crack wings) everyone raves about, slathered in a tangy, hot and sweet house-made sauce and served atop Cajun tater tots. The meat sweats are totally worth getting when you can choose up to three meats served with a side, buttered garlic bread and a drink. Brisket, pork, chicken, turkey, ribs and sausage are often available if not sold out and all smoked low and slow to perfection.
As if it couldn’t get any better, breakfast is now served all day featuring biscuits and gravy, grits and grillades, omelettes, french toast, Belgian waffles and create-your-own “sammiches” or burritos.
Nowhere else in town will you find authentic Cajun-Creole-BBQ with genuine hospitality to match. Save room for an array of rotating made-from-scratch desserts like bread pudding, seasonal fruit pies and praline pecan sweet potato hand pies.