The Jambalaya Shoppe: Owner aims to make Cajun food a recognizable staple in area

The jambalaya dinner ($8.99) comes with chicken and sausage served on a bed of rice. (Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper)
The jambalaya dinner ($8.99) comes with chicken and sausage served on a bed of rice. (Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper)

The jambalaya dinner ($8.99) comes with chicken and sausage served on a bed of rice. (Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
The pastalaya diner ($8.99) comes with chicken and sausage mixed in with spaghetti along with corn and salad on the side. (Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Shelly Hayes, the owner of The Jambalaya Shoppe in Pearland, opened the restaurant in late 2019. (Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper)
When opening The Jambalaya Shoppe in Pearland, Shelly Hayes was eager for the challenge of taking the concept established by Stefan and Cheryl Fontenot in Gonzales, Louisiana, and exposing a new area to the culture of Cajun food.

When the restaurant came to 12568 Broadway St. in December 2019, it seemed like she was off to a good start: The eatery had many catering orders, and people familiar with Louisiana delicacies stopped by when they learned The Jambalaya Shoppe had opened close to home, Hayes said.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the restaurant to transition into operating only as a drive-thru with online ordering. Its catering took a hit as well as more people began working from home, she said.

“We barely got up and running and had to shut down the dining,” Hayes said. “We were rushing to survive and adapt.”

As the pandemic has subsided, The Jambalaya Shoppe has slowly begun to see an increase in overall business again. Just before summer, it saw an uptick of catering orders during graduation season.


“I feel like we’re basically having a re-grand opening,” Hayes said.

Being a Cajun restaurant in Pearland has been a unique challenge, she said.

Separate from the pandemic, Hayes said there is a large portion of residents who do not know much about jambalaya and similar foods. Hayes is happy to educate customers about popular menu items, such as the jambalaya combo, which comes with chicken and sausage on a bed of rice, two crawfish pies and gumbo.

Hayes said she is still focused on making The Jambalaya Shoppe a recognizable name in Pearland. When people unfamiliar with the style of food approach the restaurant, Hayes even offers them free samples of their food to try out, and she is confident that more likely than not, they will enjoy what they taste.

“We hook people,” Hayes said. “Once you try the food, you like it.”
By Andy Yanez

Reporter, Pearland/Friendswood

Andy joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Houston. He started off as the South Houston Metro Reporter where he helped each different edition in the South Houston market before transitioning to the Pearland/Friendswood market in August 2021. Andy covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Andy served as the sports editor of The Cougar, UH's student newspaper, where he covered the university's athletics beat for two years and got to cover the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in Indianapolis.



MOST RECENT

New-case rates are roughly equivalent to those seen in mid-April, according to weekly case count trends reported by the Galveston County Health District. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths decrease in Galveston County and other updates

Case fatality remains at 1%, and 2,133 cases are active—down significantly from the 3,755 active as of Oct. 1.

Brazoria County reports less than 100 new COVID-19 cases for third consecutive day. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Brazoria County reports less than 100 new COVID-19 cases for third consecutive day

Brazoria County reported 87 new single-day COVID-19 cases on Oct. 15.

Friendswood ISD Superintendent Thad Roher address the attendees. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Southeast Houston superintendents speak on COVID-19 challenges, expansions for 2021-22 school year

Hosted in League City, the panel consisted of the superintendents from Clear Creek ISD, Dickinson ISD, Friendswood ISD, Galveston ISD, Hitchcock ISD, Texas City ISD and Odyssey Academy. 

A conceptual rendering shows what a high-speed rail station in Dallas could look like. A final design on the station has not yet been released. (Courtesy Texas Central)
Reversing course, Texas Supreme Court grants rehearing for high-speed rail eminent domain case

In the Oct. 15 order granting a rehearing, the Supreme Court set a date of Jan. 11 to hear oral arguments.

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.

Through most of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of apartments were offering some kind of concession as a way to entice renters. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Rising apartment rent continues to be trend in Houston region

​​​​​​​According to data from ApartmentData.com, Houston has seen an average 12.8% rental rate growth in the past year.

The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program has helped local families avoid eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Harris County evictions trending up as federal moratorium ends

More than 1,200 eviction cases were filed in Harris County the week of Sept. 20—the highest weekly number since before the pandemic.

As the temperature eventually falls across the Pearland and Friendswood area, there are various activities popping up for friends, families and everyone to enjoy. (Courtesy Fotolia)
10 fall-themed events happening across the Pearland, Friendswood area

As the temperature eventually falls across the Pearland and Friendswood area, there are various activities popping up for friends, families and everyone to enjoy.

The Smoking Joint is now open under the umbrella of Click Click Chew virtual food hall in Cypress. (Courtesy Kirsten Gilliam)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: More restaurant, retail space could be coming to north Frisco development; Locatelli’s owners launch virtual food hall in Cypress, 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. 14.

Alvin ISD offers remote learning for kindergarten through sixth grade. (Courtesy Canva)
Remote learning under way in Alvin ISD and other updates

District leaders reviewed AISD’s virtual academy, career and technical education programming, and campus performance objectives at the Oct. 12 board of trustees meeting.

State law now requires each county to establish an adult sexual assault response team. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County to establish state-mandated sexual abuse response team

State law now requires each county to establish an adult sexual assault response team.