Photo by Wendy Howell.
WILLIAMS, Ariz. — After three years of business in Flagstaff, New Orleans natives Tricia and J.D. O’Reilly have moved their Cajun food expertise to Williams and opened Bayou By You on Route 66.
On Sept. 8, Bayou By You began serving customers in Williams in the former Old Smokey’s building.
“This is our first restaurant,” J.D. said. “We had our food truck for three and a half years in Flagstaff.”
The O’Reillys have kept the same name as the food truck and are serving the same food they offered in Flagstaff.
The O’Reillys were born and raised in New Orleans and moved to Arizona after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
“A few months later we accepted a job in Prescott to be ranch hands,” Tricia said.
The O'Reillys' travels led them to Flagstaff where they opened their first commercial food operation.
Although Tricia has a background in hotel and tourism management, the couple didn’t begin cooking commercially until they moved to Flagstaff.
“We had completely different lives,” Tricia said. “Cooking was always something we had done for family and friends and when we moved to Arizona people like to try our food from New Orleans.”
J.D. said the menu they offer is something found in every home in New Orleans.
“These dishes are something you find in every house down south in all different shapes, sizes and colors,” J.D. said.
The O’Reillys have made their menu gluten free to accommodate those with food issues.
“We specialize in everything, that’s why we have a concise menu,” J.D. said. “Those four offerings are so varied and different, if I had to pick one I would say try to the gumbo.”
The gumbo has imported andouille sausage with okra, with optional variations.
“Our menu gives a sampling of Cajun cooking for the novice,” he said.
Following their experience in Flagstaff, the O’Reillys have varied their red beans and rice to include vegan options in addition to traditional pork.
The restaurant also serves etouffee in a tofu version.
For now the menu includes four entrees of gumbo, jambalaya, etoufee, and red beans and rice.
“We import the crawfish tails and shrimp from Louisiana,” Tricia said. “There are different ways you can twist the menu options so four dishes become seven.”
Bayou By You's appetizers and desserts are family traditions of the O’Reillys.
“The cookies, the pecan Zeldas, that is a recipe of mine from 25 years ago,” Tricia said. “They are named after my dog, Zelda.”
The O’Reillys like to remind people that there is no one type of Cajun food.
“One misconception is that it’s not like hamburgers, this is gumbo from people who live there,” he said. “This is how we grew up. These are flavors we chased down and put in."
Bayou By You is located at 125 Historic West Route 66 in Williams. They are open Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Their website bayoubyyou.com.