J.D. and Tricia O’Reilly are bringing a taste of New Orleans to Flagstaff. The local couple just started cruising the streets this month with their new mobile kitchen in a trailer, Bayou By You.
The O’Reillys are originally from New Orleans, where good food is a favorite pastime of all residents and something to be shared with family and friends. They moved to Prescott in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city and their home. They worked as ranch hands in Prescott for a few years before moving to Flagstaff in 2009. J.D. is a solo musician and a paraprofessional in the special education department at Flagstaff Junior Academy. Tricia is an artist and the office manager at TGen North, the local, non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute.
“We both love to cook and eat. We’re both raised by cooks,” J.D. said. “In New Orleans there’s a cook in every family.”
The couple had always wanted to run their own catering business, Tricia said. They love making traditional New Orleans dishes, such as red beans and rice, for friends’ parties. But it wasn’t until recently that the time was right to open a business.
“We’re conscious of the food crowd here and we felt that Flagstaff needed some good, authentic Cajun and Creole food,” J.D. said.
The menu for Bayou By You consists of classics such as crawfish and meat mini pies, crawfish etouffee, gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice. For dessert, the O’Reillys serve Tricia’s pecan zeldas. All of the dishes, except the mini pies, are served in two sizes, sample or regular.
The sample size allows people who may have always wanted to try Cajun or Creole food but are wary of the spiciness to get a good taste, Tricia said. For those who want to try a bit of everything, there’s the petite bayou with a choice of two sample sizes and a pie. Those with bigger appetites can try the grand bayou with a sample size of all four dishes and two pies.
Because they’re mobile, Bayou By You can be found in several locations around town Thursday through Sunday. They’re open from about 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends. They typically hang out around Wanderlust Brewing Company on Main Street during the week, at Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue on Saturdays, and at the corner of Humphreys Street and Cherry Avenue on Sundays. The best way to locate them is to check out their Facebook page, where they post their locations for the week, www.facebook.com/BayouByYouFood.
“We’re trying out a bunch of different locations to see what works best for us,” J.D. said.
The O’Reillys use as much local food as they can get to make their dishes, but there are some ingredients that only taste right if they come from New Orleans, such as the crawfish used in the etouffee and the Andouille sausage used in the gumbo and jambalaya.
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“We import that from Louisiana,” J.D. said.
The meat and crawfish pies are also imported from Louisiana. The pies are Louisiana delicacies that are traditionally served at festivals and outdoor events.
“They’re the only thing we don’t make from scratch,” he said. “Everything else is made from scratch. We even make our own broths.”
The couple also kept Flagstaff’s vegans, gluten and lactose-intolerant residents in mind. All of their dishes except the mini pies are gluten and dairy free. The red beans and rice is completely vegan, Tricia said.
Traditionally red beans and rice is a dish that’s served on Mondays, she said. Most cooks put the beans in a pot to soak on Sunday while doing the laundry and cleaning up the house. On Monday, vegetables, spices and pork bones from Sunday’s dinner are added to the pot and simmered.
The O’Reillys decided to leave out the pork bones and broth so they could have a dish that Flagstaff’s vegans and vegetarians could enjoy.
While there are plenty of other Cajun and Creole dishes that the O’Reillys could make, they plan to stick to the four traditional dishes and the mini pies. Consistency is important to the couple and trying serve several different dishes at the same time and offer a consistent product is difficult, J.D. said. They’d rather offer a few consistent dishes that people are familiar with.
“These are full meals,” J.D. said. “There’s a lot of love and passion cooked into these dishes. It’s our way of sharing our home."
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