Mouton's Southern Bistro

Family-inspired meals define Leander hybrid restaurant

Mouton's Southern Bistro is Leander's new option for down-home country cooking with New Orleans and Texas flavors in a cozy Southern atmosphere. Ben Mouton and his wife, Rachel, took over the former Moody's Cafe on New Year's Day, and after making adjustments to the hours and menu, they reopened as Mouton's Southern Bistro on March 23.

Mouton studied culinary arts in New Orleans before he moved back to Texas in 2000. He spent the following years waiting tables and managing restaurants in the Austin area, accumulating more than 21 years of experience in the business.

"I've always been in the restaurant business," Mouton said. "I started out when I was 15 washing dishes in a Mexican food restaurant in Bastrop. I washed dishes and cooked, and then eventually moved up to waiting tables."

Mouton, who grew up outside of Bastrop, said he is used to traditional Texas country and soul food. But on the holidays, he and his family would travel to Louisiana and eat traditional Cajun dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo.

The former Moody's location proved to be the perfect site for Mouton to create his own homestyle restaurant inspired by his culinary passion, he said.

"It was just the mom and pop feel with the shady oaks and the country kitchen," he said. "It's real homey."

The food—served at breakfast, lunch and dinner—is described as homestyle Cajun cooking with a Texas flair. Mouton said he tries to incorporate into the menu traditional dishes from the locations of both sides of his family. Also, Mouton's menu contains dishes named after his family, friends and special places that played a significant role in his life.

"I've learned every item on this menu from a restaurant I worked in or a family member that taught me something about cooking," Mouton said.

Such examples include the Gran Jan's Gumbo and the Shrimp Entringer, which are in recognition of his mother; Al's Chicken was named after his dad; the Camille's Cali Club is inspired after his native New Orleans cousin who moved to California; and the Shell Beach Platter is named after where Mouton and his family used to go fishing.

Even the family crest is incorporated into the restaurant's logo. Alex Medrano, a server at Mouton's, said the owner's last name is French for "sheep," so the logo is the crest holding the Texas flag, incorporating both the Texas and Cajun sides of Mouton's family.

"Everything is made to order, and you can't go wrong with good homemade food," Medrano said.

Mouton said he feels his family inspired his passion and the way he cooks. As a result, he said his experience cooking for his family prepared him for the restaurant business.

"I am the oldest of four boys, and four boys eat a lot," he said. "So it wasn't a big transition from cooking for them to cooking in restaurants."

Chef's favorites

  • Mouton's favorite dish to make is the Shrimp and Grits, which has Cajun-seasoned grilled shrimp served with chives over organic jalapeno cheese polenta with a side of garlic bread. ($9.99)
  • The Angry Pasta, one of the first recipes Mouton learned—and the dish that inspired him to have a culinary career—has smoked sausage, ham and bacon simmered and tossed in a spicy fettuccine Alfredo, and is served with garlic bread. ($10.99)
  • The Shrimp Po-boy is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. Golden fried shrimp is piled high along with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on French bread. ($10.49)

Family namesakes

Many of Mouton's friends and family members are mentioned in his menu.

  • Cade's Club is named after Mouton's toddler son. It stacks grilled chicken breast, ham, bacon and provolone cheese with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on French bread. ($9.49)
  • Mouton said he has been eating his mom's recipe, now called Gran Jan's Gumbo, for as long as he can remember. Gran Jan's Gumbo features chicken and sausage in a dark Creole roux, served over dirty rice. (Cup $3.99, bowl $7.99)

Mouton's Southern Bistro, 309 N. US 183, Leander, 260-6300,


Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

Eanes ISD relaxes in-person visitation rules. (Courtesy Pexels)
Eanes ISD easing restrictions on campus activities

Eanes ISD easing restrictions in time for Veterans Day celebrations

Want to know more about new businesses coming to the Katy area? Below you can find details on the five latest commercial projects filed in Katy. (Courtesy Canva)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Read the latest top news about restaurants, businesses and other commercial projects that are coming soon or now open

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 19.

Black Rock Coffee Bar's menu features Americanos, drip coffees, cold brews, specialty lattes, teas and smoothies. (Courtesy Black Rock Coffee Bar)
4 businesses coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Barton Springs Pool reopens and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Williamson County Commissioners hope to vote on a new county precinct map before the end of November. The redistricting process comes after the county saw an explosion of population growth from 2010-20, according to census numbers. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Officials look to make new Williamson County precinct map available to public in early November

Williamson County will redraw its commissioner precinct map after the county saw a 44% growth in population over the past decade.

Perky Beans Cafe is located next to the coffee shop at 2080 US 183, Ste. 220, Leander. (Courtesy Perky Beans Cafe)
Perky Beans Cafe open for breakfast, lunch in north Leander

The cafe menu includes pancakes, omelets, eggs Benedict, sandwiches, mimosas and more.

The new H-E-B store is located on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in north Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: New H-E-B in Leander opening soon; Texas Supreme Court grants rehearing for high-speed rail eminent domain case and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 18.

black rock coffee bar interior
4 businesses coming to Cedar Park, Leander

Check out four businesses coming soon to the area, including fitness studios, a coffee shop and a therapy center. 

The new H-E-B store is located on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in north Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
New H-E-B in Leander opening soon

The store is scheduled to open Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The amended version of the planned development unit will now go to the Austin Planning Commission for review. (Rendering courtesy Austin Environmental Commission)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Austin commission OKs development plan near Lady Bird Lake; shopping center coming to Porter and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 15.