Another Deep Ellum Spot On The Way: The Free Man Looks To Mix Cajun Food and Dallas Music

Categories: DFW Music News
Free Man.jpg
Deep Ellum is about to get yet another addition to its growing list of restaurants and music venues.

The Free Man, which will open as a Cajun style cafe in the space formerly occupied by Sol's Taco Lounge, will serve as both a restaurant and a venue.

The Free Man's owner, John Jay Myers, a longtime Dallas rock musician and, interestingly enough, membership director of the Texas Libertarian Party, describes the place as a typical New Orleans kitchen.

"It's a Cajun Cafe like on Bourbon Street," he says.

To help him put the menu together, Myers has brought in chef and former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ricky Sutton.

"It's too bad he wasn't a Dallas Cowboy because that would pull a lot more weight," jokes Meyers.

But despite the thick Cajun atmosphere he hopes to attain with The Free Man, the live music will be more akin to the Dallas scene Myers has been a part of for over a decade. The first band to perform on the venue's August 1 opening be The Backsliders, a band Myers has sat in with on the drums in the past.

"It will be a good venue for people like The O's," he says. "It will be a small venue."

Myers has a concise idea for The Free Man's live music format: During the day, it will have singers and '40s standards. In the evening, there will dinner shows. And, at night, full-on rock band performances.

At the moment, Myers is hard at work making renovations to the space that was briefly occupied by a spot called Taco Lounge after Sol's Taco Lounge moved out. He's already installed a stage and a new bar. The place will also have new seating and a fresh coat of paint.

Myers, who runs a successful screen printing and embroidery shop, got the idea to open a place when contacted by Ben Tapia a few months back. The two attempted to purchase The Boiler Room, but were outbid by Drowning Pool's Stevie Benton.

After that, Myers had his eye on the space formerly occupied by Sambuca, but finally landed next door to Adair's Saloon.

"Right now, my business is successful," he says. "I just wanted to do something with my time that would produce something that I'd be proud of."

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10 comments
Arthur Alford
Arthur Alford

"It's a Cajun Cafe like on Bourbon Street?" Really, why do people think Cajun food comes from New Orleans? It doesn't. New Orleans is Creole cuisine; Cajun is from the southwestern part of the state (between Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, up to Alexandria in the north). A typical New Orleans kitchen doesn't do Cajun cuisine. They'll tell you to get the hell out because they don't do "coonass food."

What I see is someone who wants to use "New Orleans" to market his place, not someone who actually knows a damned thing about either New Orleans or Cajun food.

1-2-3
1-2-3

Is there no date on this?

Coleman
Coleman

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Gary
Gary

Arthur, right on!  I am from Nola and would never eat at a Cajun Cafe on Bourbon Street.  Heck, with the noted exception of Galatoire's I wouldnt eat anywhere on Bourbon Street...maybe add Clover Grill late night to that list.  On another note, the kitchen will be run by a former Pittsburg Steeler that played college ball at Auburn and is originally from Atlanta?  Sounds cajun to me!!

John Jay Myers
John Jay Myers

The quote was that we wanted to be known as a New Orleans kitchen (with a Bourbon Street feel) but we didn't think the average person would know what to expect so we changed it to Cajun Cafe, the menu however will be a mix of Cajun and Creole. 

Pete Freedman
Pete Freedman

Says it about halfway through the piece. August 1.

Paul Burrough
Paul Burrough

...wish i had a dollar for every "cajun" that thinks they know what is and isn't "cajun".  y'all could fill the Superdome.

John Jay Myers
John Jay Myers

A little bit more... My Dad was raised in Lake Charles, my Mom was raised in Alexandria, they both moved to Baton Rouge, and got married after college at LSU, I have eaten cajun/creole food all my life fixed by my mother, who hardly differentiated, she just cooked good food. 

My great great great Grandfather was the Governor of Louisiana during the Civil War, James Madison Wells, my family has a history of naming people after famous people, like his brother Thomas Jefferson Wells, or me (John Jay) Myers. My Mother's sister Ancy Joe still lives in Baton Rouge and started the company School Aids there.I brought Ricky Sutton in to make sure that the food is good and the kitchen is run well, so instead of going by what you "see" here, maybe you should come by for what you taste.

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