When Antoinette and Clif Brown were preparing to open Cooyons in Mountain Home in 2018, thousands of social media followers had observed the remodel of the location and the development of the menu. Today, Cooyons is the place to enjoy foods exactly as they are cooked around Acadiana and the Louisiana Gulf Coast region.
The Louisiana couple moved to Mountain Home in 2009. Clif, a commercial diver in his previous career, had enjoyed many vacations to the Twin Lakes region in north-central Arkansas. Antoinette was involved with hospitality in the petroleum industry, where she gained a wealth of experience in restaurant entrepreneurship.
Her dad, Antoine Verret, lived off the land and bayou and loved to cook. Clif’s grandmother, Marjorie Brown, was a master at Southern cuisine. According to Antoinette, Clif had to pull a Cajun out of the swamp to get her to Mountain Home.
“We had never owned a restaurant. My mom had owned several, but we definitely believed that our family’s recipes would fill a niche in the Mountain Home area,” Clif said. “People in the area have been so kind and appreciative of the authentic Cajun food that we serve. We are blessed and very thankful for the friendships and support of our adopted hometown.”
According to the couple, everything on the menu is made from scratch to guarantee absolute freshness and authenticity. “We put what we like to eat on the menu and have slightly adjusted it to the preferred tastes of our loyal customers,” Antoinette said. “We have enjoyed educating everyone that Cajun food is not necessarily hot but has tremendous layers of flavors.”
Cooyons’ Boudin Balls are made with pork, rice, and a secret blend of herbs and spices. They are lightly breaded and fried to golden goodness. They are so tasty that I am still thinking about them. Clif and Antoinette told me that the fried Alligator Bites are extremely popular too.
Of course, the Browns ensure that all po’boys are served on the internationally acclaimed Leidenheimer bread imported from New Orleans. A true Cajun restaurant would consider it a major faux pas to do otherwise. I was treated to a standout Shrimp Po’boy during my visit. True seafood fans will want to try the Soft Shell Crab Po’boy.
Ever heard of Cat-Touffée? The creation features a bowl of famous crawfish étouffée topped with either a fried or blackened catfish fillet. I opted for the fried. The spicy étouffée was top-notch, and the golden-brown catfish fillet kicked it up to a new level of perfection.
The Shrimp and Grits include homemade, cheesy grits with delicious shrimp in a fabulous tomato, butter, and wine sauce. This dish is large enough to share, but you won’t want to!
The BBQ Shrimp is Antoinette’s favorite dish on the menu. This Southern classic offers seasoned shrimp with a lovely lemon butter sauce. She even sat down and enjoyed a few bites with me. Shrimp Creole is a classic, and Cooyons’ version delivers layers of Cajun flavor with the tomato-based shrimp dish served over steamed rice. The amazing aroma of the outstanding Bread Pudding preceded its arrival at my table. Cooyons’ unique recipe features dried cranberries and a bourbon cream sauce. Try it!