For 17 years, Cypress Grill owner John Haug has been serving up Cajun classics to the Southwest Austin community.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Haug came to Austin in the late ’80s to go to The University of Texas for a business degree. After working various jobs at local restaurants for years, he said he and a friend opened their own Cajun catering business in 1995. He took the experience he had gained and opened Cypress Grill in South Austin in 2002, creating one of the first restaurants in the surrounding area.
“At that time, there were no restaurants in this part of town,” Haug said. “We had to learn to market it and how to become part of the community.”
Chris Goike, who has been the restaurant’s manager for 10 years, said Cypress Grill is seen as a neighborhood spot to eat and drink for regulars who have been visiting since its early days. Some residents come in two or three times a week and have gotten to know the business’s long-tenured employees.
“We’ve seen families and kids grow up, go off to college, and come back,” Haug said. “I still love what I do and stay involved with the business.”
Goike said the grill gets fresh seafood delivered six days a week and partners with local farmers for other ingredients.
One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is its crawfish etouffee, which Goike said is “by far the best in Texas.” A popular pairing, Cypress Grill’s variety of po’boy sandwiches—which can come with shrimp, crawfish, catfish, oysters, pot roast or chicken—and gumbo create an authentic New Orleans meal. The grill also offers a “New Orleans” brunch menu on weekends, with Creole Eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, and a loaded buttermilk biscuit.
The bar, which was renovated in 2014, features New Orleans classics—such as Hurricanes and Sazaracs— as well as original seasonal cocktails concocted by the restaurant’s staff. Beers on tap include some from Louisiana brewery Abita, Goike said.
4404 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.