Hanks said when the oil industry took a downturn in April 2016, he chose to turn to another passion he was skilled at: cooking. In March 2017, he opened Fontenot’s Cajun Meats on Spring Cypress Road.
Hanks said family members taught him how to prepare food while growing up in Rayne, Louisiana.
“My grandmother taught me to cook, and my grandfather taught me how to mix seasonings, boudin, sausage and that kind of thing—the outdoor work,” Hanks said.
Working in several different roles in the oil fields for so many years also helped to develop Hanks’ cooking skills and prepared him to own the shop, he said.
“Because I was in sales, we did a lot of cooking and going to customer events and different things like that,” Hanks said. “Because the oil field is so prominent in south Louisiana, the food has kind of become part of the oil field, too.”
Fontenot’s carries a variety of traditional Cajun items, such as gumbo, crawfish etouffee, boudin and jambalaya, as well as sides and other specialty items. All of the food is prepackaged and ready to be picked up by customers and heated at home.
Hanks said one of the most popular items at the shop is deboned, stuffed chickens, which were a top seller this past Christmas. The raw chickens are stuffed with dirty rice, boudin and crawfish etouffee or crawfish jalapeno cornbread. They are ready to eat after an hour in the oven.
The shop also offers catering services. A daily hot lunch option is also available weekdays.
“[I appreciate] the fact that people come here, try things and tell you, ‘Well, that tastes like home,’ or ‘That tastes just like my grandfather used to make,’” Hanks said. “When you hear comments like that, it’s pretty refreshing.”
Fontenot’s Cajun Meats
11715 Spring Cypress Road, Ste. A, Tomball
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Mondays