Mrs. Lively’s Cajun Konnection: Experience from the Bayou

Mrs. Lively’s Cajun Konnection: Experience from the Bayou

by Steve Gamel

When Kevin Lively was three years old, he would stand eagerly in a straight-back chair in front of the stove in his grandmother’s modest Louisiana kitchen and help her cook one of her many famous Cajun recipes. They’d do everything from fry eggs and prepare out-of-this-world gumbo, shrimp, and jambalaya to bake homemade biscuits and desserts. That was nearly 50 years ago, yet the smells and soulful flavors from that kitchen are strong in Kevin’s mind and heart.

“And I’m sure I was also getting in the way,” Kevin said with a smile as he reminisced. “But we were cooking. Back then they had the big bowls – you’d sift the flour, work the dough, and pinch the biscuits off. I remember doing all of that.”

With so many vivid memories of his late grandmother, Edith Lively, and his mother, Judy – both epitomize southern cuisine in his eyes – it stands to reason why Kevin, now 51, named his new restaurant Mrs. Lively’s Cajun Konnection. And in a matter of a few short months, the Lively way of filling a tummy with a taste of the bayou has given the fishing community known as Lake Dallas a welcomed Cajun kick. “This is my passion,” Kevin said. “I invite you to come in and get to know mom and me.”

When Kevin told the folks at Lake Cities Living his story, tears welled up so fast in his eyes that it was easy to see cooking and owning his own restaurant in a way that honors his family upbringing means the world to him. Mrs. Lively’s Cajun Konnection, located off the lake on Hundley Dr., where Neal’s and Logan’s used to be, is a full-tilt taste of Louisiana with an amazing variety of made-from-scratch Cajun meals that will satisfy any customer.

Every dish, whether it be their gumbo, crawfish, alligator ball basket, blackened fish, or boiled shrimp is prepared daily with fresh ingredients and cooked with only the finest signature spices. And let’s not forget about their mouth-watering desserts like pecan cobbler, buttermilk pie, and bread pudding. And that’s just for starters. Kevin said the menu would eventually expand as they settle in.

“My niche is to offer a family-oriented restaurant where a family can come in and get a good meal, a place that’s upscale enough to dress up and go out on a date but is still comfortable for the group of people coming in from a day on the lake,” Kevin said. “The taste of the bayou comes from my roots. People in this part of the country think that by adding cayenne pepper, that makes the dish Cajun. But it’s a lot more involved than that. Nearly everything that comes out of our kitchen is made from scratch, and we only work with true Louisiana flavors and marinades.”

Kevin added, “My grandmother’s and mother’s pictures are in the hallway, and we use both their recipes. We have catfish batter that is regular and spicy, and many of our desserts are specific to Edith.
In fact, I still have all of my grandmother’s cooking equipment.”

None of this has happened without hard work, a ton of inspiration, and constant dedication to creating something unique that people will enjoy. Not many people know this yet – after all, his restaurant has only been open since May 8 – but Kevin has been in the food industry since he was 15. He concurrently owns a traveling concessions catering business called Mrs. Lively’s Southern Cuisine where he travels all over the country serving his delicious food at food festivals and other events, including the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo and the Louisiana Peach Festival.

“Everywhere we go, people ask, ‘Where is your restaurant?’ My mother has always begged me to open one, too,” Kevin said. “When this location became available, I inquired, and here we are. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Kevin added, “I’ve been in Lake Dallas for a very long time, so I have roots here, too, and know a lot of people. Plus, social media has been very good to us with people reacting the way they have. It’s honestly a bit overwhelming at night when I do finally sit down to relax because I end up getting busy reading all the positive comments. We will see what happens. It’s going great so far, and I feel like we fit in perfectly here in Lake Dallas.”

Check out Mrs. Lively’s Cajun Konnection and see what they’re cooking up!

940.279.4299 |721 E Hundley Dr. Lake Dallas, TX 75065

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  1. Vicki
    Vicki 15 July, 2018, 08:52

    My husband and I visited these restaurant for lunch. Don’t be fooled by the modest exterior. The owners are very welcoming and are working hard to please all customers. We tried several dishes and everything was great. Prices are reasonable. It’s a BYOB establishment. I have always disliked hush puppies but to my surprise after my husband and owners insistence, I tried them and LOVED them, even took some home! If you enjoy Cajun food as we do, give this place a try.

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