Jazz opened in Lubbock in February of 1986. At that time, a young, twentysomething, Texas girl was intrigued by the Cajun concept in a city primarily made up of barbeque and steak joints. Two months after the restaurant opened, she decided to get a job waitressing. Fast forward 28 years, Tracee Brown is now the owner of Jazz. Along the way, she helped open the restaurant in a number of different locations across the state, and even met her husband at the Jazz restaurant formerly located on 6th Street in Austin. But through it all a big portion of her heart remained in Lubbock, and when the opportunity presented itself, she purchased the restaurant and never looked back.
Today, it is truly a family-run business. Tracee’s husband, Kellee is the general manager. Her dad is the maintenance man, and her kids, Ben and Tatum, pitch in every now and then. When I sat down with Tracee, she informed me she actually had to waitress a shift the day before because one of her “Jazz Girls” had called in sick and the day prior to that she was actually washing dishes in the back. To Tracee, the Jazz crew is family and everyone pitches in to do whatever it takes to make sure their customers receive the best food and customer service. In fact, two of the original cooks have been with the restaurant since its opening 28 years ago.
From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you can’t help but pick up on the family ambience and Louisiana spirit that has a Texas twist. Probably the first thing you will notice is the walls of the restaurant are literally covered in decorated dollar bills. Tracee says it actually started with someone hanging the first dollar they ever made in 1986, and the tradition continued to grow from there.
So I know some of you are thinking – get to the food! Well, I always like to save the best for last. After chatting with Tracee, we tried out a couple of different options from the menu.
We started with the stuffed zucchini covered with the a la mer sauce. A la mer is a parmesan cream sauce with shrimp and crab meat. This sauce is honest-to-goodness a piece of heaven on earth.
For my entrée, I ordered what Tracee said is probably the most popular item on the menu. The chicken a la mer is normally served fried, topped off with the a la mer sauce. You can choose to have your chicken blackened, but I decided to go with the real deal. Let’s just say I had no regrets. The chicken was cooked to perfection, incredibly tender and you already know how I feel about the a la mer sauce, which does have a bit of that Cajun spice to wake your taste buds.
Daniel, our resident photographer, chose to order another popular menu item, the blackened catfish. As we all know, when you order anything blackened, it is easy to over season. Daniel said that was not the case at all. The fish was perfectly seasoned, cooked well and in the spirit of Louisiana, he added some hot sauce for that extra Cajun kick.
To top off our fantastic meal, we ordered Jazz’s beignets, which are made by hand each day. For those that are unfamiliar, a beignet is a French Quarter doughnut that is great with chicory coffee. While I didn’t think I could eat much more, the beignets were simply sweet perfection.
For those of you not familiar with Cajun food, Jazz’s menu even provides a Cajun dictionary to help in your decision-making process. In addition to great food, the restaurant also has a full bar. It’s easy to see that the Jazz crew knows what it means to “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (translation: “Let the good times roll”).
Jazz, a Louisiana Kitchen Special Offer:
Print this blog post and show it to your waitress a.k.a. “Jazz Girl” to receive 20 percent off your entrée. This offer is good from Monday, March 24 – Monday, March 31, 2014.
Thursday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Jazz Alley, a local jazz band, plays from 8 – 11 p.m.)
Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – midnight
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