Friday’s grand opening of Now Dats Cajun Gourmet gave people a taste of fresh boudin, a sample of spicy Tabasco beans and a look around one of the few gourmet food shops on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Owners Arthur Paulk and Marlene Snyder have two kids at University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach and are wholesalers of Tabasco and Aunt Jenny’s products.
They were looking for a place to bring together Cajun specialty foods and Southern gifts when they found the location at 20048 Pineville Road in Long Beach.
“We wanted the country feel. That’s whey we picked this location,” Paulk said. Instead of a glass store front, the building at the corner of Doughtrey and Pineville, a few miles off U.S. 90, looks more like a country store, complete with pepper plants growing outside.
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“We wanted a store that was tourist friendly but actually for the locals,” he said.
When Rouses Market left Long Beach, shoppers had few places to find authentic Cajun foods. Snyder is a native of New Orleans and she and Paulk have brought in locally-made pork, shrimp and crawfish boudin sausage that she says sells out quickly at Cajun Gourmet.
As wholesalers, they feature the line of Tabasco foods and products like Tabasco wood chips, along with sweet Aunt Sally’s pralines.
Cajun style pickles, virgin pecan oil and sweet jalapeno relish make great gifts, Snyder said. Made for entertaining are Wind & Willow soup mixes and cinnamon roll hot dip mix and for a quick and easy dinner are Ragin Cajun gumbo mix and A La Carte Alice Cajun shrimp and grits mix.
“Most of this you can’t find in a grocery store,” she said. That includes their own private line of coffees and Hyppo gourmet ice pops that come in bourbon peach, champagne mango, key lime and up to 500 flavors.
In addition to all the gourmet foods at Cajun Gourmet, they visited gift shows and added to the Southern feel of the shop by introducing pottery and other gifts and crafts by artists in Alabama and Mississippi. Holly Boynes’ Slip Into Clay pottery out of Louisiana is playful with alligators and crabs a part of the design. Roux pottery “is a true Southern brand,” Snyder said.
Paul shows the Cajun Copper Creations wall art and fountains on display and says, “Everything is one of a kind. That’s what we wanted here,” he said. “Something that was great and unique.”
Customers are invited to make their own bath fizzies when they shop Cajun Gourmet from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10-3 on Saturday.