Crawfish Season

Massive Crawfish and Monster Po-Boys at Calliope's

Who cares about history when the food is this good?

By Katharine Shilcutt April 15, 2014

(Note: The original version of this article contained inaccuracies about the ownership of both Calliope's and The Cajun Stop, which have since been corrected. Houstonia regrets the error.)

Fans of The Cajun Stop on Jefferson in EaDo may remember a time when the po-boy shop that opened in 2009 was called Calliope's. And then one day in late 2011, another Calliope's opened—this one on West Bellfort in southwest Houston. This was a source of some confusion for many of the restaurant's fans, including myself.

7590 West Bellfort

Although the two restaurants were initially affiliated with one another, they soon parted ways. The Cajun Stop owner Lisa Carnley set about changing the name of her po-boy shop from Calliope's, allowing the West Belfort restaurant to keep the name and letting her customers choose the new name. In December 2012, that new name was announced, and The Cajun Stop was (re)born.

Meanwhile, the Calliope's on West Bellfort is still going strong, dealing in the same sort of po-boys, boiled crawfish, and fried platters that put The Cajun Stop on the map. I found myself in southwest Houston last week, heading to this "new" Calliope's for what a friend promised were the best (and biggest) crawfish of the season so far, and for only $6.99 per pound.

The crawfish didn't disappoint, the boil strong, slightly spicy, and slightly sweet. The fat crawfish themselves were seasoned by that delicious boil along with the garlic and spices tossed on the outside after cooking—another plus. And each bag of bugs comes with potatoes at no added cost. For real. A long line stretching to the door for the duration of our visit attested to the crawfish's popularity, as each customer eventually received a giant metal bowl and a plastic sack of mudbugs at their table. While we ate, one table still awaiting their feast craned their necks at our table full of crawfish and asked, "Are they spicy today?"

"Yes," I answered. "In the best way."

Another surprise: the po-boys that Calliope's advertises as the "best" in the city are actually damn good, proving that there are still restaurants where the food stands up to the hype. I split a giant roast beef po-boy (the "regular" is nearly a foot long) with a friend who claimed it was the best he'd had outside New Orleans. He took his half without remoulade, but I can't resist the tangy mayo blend—along with the juices from the roast beef, you're in for a messy but wonderfully tasty time.

Back on the website, you may notice that Calliope's also credits itself as serving "seafood poboys since 1995." That's a little curious too, until you realize the restaurant is an extension of Peter's Po Boys in Hattiesburg, MS.  At the end of the day, I'm disinclined to care about any of the restaurant's occasionally confusing history, as the end result is more excellent Cajun food in Houston—no matter where it came from, or when.

Show Comments