Houston’s favorite soul food restaurant is cooking up a new spot in the Heights area

One of Houston’s favorite soul food destinations will soon have a new outpost in Independence Heights. Esther Lewis-Bernard will bring a second location of her beloved Esther’s Cajun Cafe at 5007 N. Shepherd Dr. later this fall.

The new Esther’s represents a significant improvement over the original Lewis-Bernard location on Yale Street, which will also remain open. The much larger space will allow for more seating, a larger kitchen and, for the first time, a full bar with cocktails.

“We are not moving; we are growing,” Lewis-Bernard said in a statement. “We will always be here in Independence Heights, where I raised my six children and where my parents Nathaniel and Gladiola Lewis raised their 11 children. This is our home and we love serving our community.

Designed by Lewis-Bernard’s daughter, Dru Evans, the restaurant’s decor will feature a vintage stove that Esther’s mother and aunt used to prepare family meals. Additionally, the space will include a private dining room, take-out window to the sidewalk, and a large outdoor patio.

Operating with a larger kitchen will allow Esther’s to double its steam tray offerings from eight to 16 selections. Along with staples such as oxtails, smothered pork chops and fried chicken, the added capacity means specialties such as turkey necks and lamb chops will be featured more regularly. Of course, sides such as black-eyed peas, candied yams, cornbread dressing, etc. will be present and taken into account.

The new location’s cocktail offerings will be grounded in classic Southern sips. Expect choices like frozen drinks, sparkling wines with juices, and adult-style punches.

“This trip was a leap of faith for Esther,” said Glashanda Lewis-Bernard, Esther’s eldest daughter and chief commercial officer of the brand. “She trusted the word of God, and fourteen years later, we are still growing. The legacy lives on from generation to generation as three of my mother’s children now run as restaurateurs: my sister Dru Evans, my brother Lonnie Dow IV and myself. This new location will allow us to serve everyone in even more ways, and we couldn’t be more excited and grateful.

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