As you wind your way through the cane fields of St. Mary Parish, you’ll arrive at Cypress Bayou Casino. Visitors are truly transported to another world when they walk in the doors.
Whether you’re ready to find your fortune or enjoy some entertainment, there’s one place you can’t miss, Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse. Named after Lester Darden, who was the oldest Chitamacha tribal member at the time the casino opened.
Arizona native and executive chef Scott McCue has been here since the beginning.
“This building we’re standing in was under construction, it wasn’t a restaurant yet,” says McCue. “I took advantage of that time doing researching and developing steakhouse menus.”
But McCue says it’s not just about the menu.
“When a guest comes to Mr. Lester’s they’re looking for the dining experience,” Scott says. “I believe there are three things to that dining experience, the atmosphere, the service, and the food. If your food is not up to par, your service isn’t up to par and vice versa.”
So what makes McCue an award-winning chef?
He says that it took a lot of research and development, visiting different locations, trying the food, and talking to chefs and those in the kitchen to learn their techniques.
“I just like the creative outlet of it, my father is an artist,” says McCue. “And I guess I got some of his genes, and my way of expressing my art is by the food I create.”
Another famous face at Mr. Lesters is Mr. Robert Lopez also known as “The Bread Man.” Life’s twists and turns led him to Mr. Lester’s over 20 years ago.
“It was a job, I had to learn it,” says Lopez of his early years at the restaurant. “In here everybody gives me the praise on what I do. But I give the praise to them because they helped me.”
Lopez says he started out his lengthy career at Mr. Lester’s as a server’s assistant.
“Ms. Callie, she took me under her wing,” he says of his mentor. “She gave me the motivational words, ‘You can do it!’ Now she’s gone, and I’m here doing it.”
And that Mr. Robert does, and he does it well.
But he also doesn’t do it alone. Robert says that the restaurant is all about team work!
“Everyone in here, we all reach out and help one another. We might look like we’re mad at each other, It’s not all about the bread, it’s about how you treat your customer. I try to lift up their spirits, let them know, hey, we’re gonna take care of you in here tonight.”