LAKEWOOD RANCH — Louisiana native Spyder Broussard remembers his childhood days, when family members would gather outside Saturday afternoons and cook shrimp and crawfish, corn, potatoes and spices together in a large metal pot, as they spent time together.
The day’s leftovers would be turned into gumbo for Sunday dinner.
This weekend, Broussard and Polo Grill owner Tommy Klauber will bring Broussard’s hometown tradition to the East County, as they don their Cajun-inspired aprons and roll up their sleeves for the sixth annual Spyder Broussard Low Country, East County Fish Fry & Shrimp Boil. The event will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch.
The event will be much like a fais do-do, a Cajun festival party that involves the whole family.
“It’s a grazing kind of thing,” Klauber said of the event. “You eat. You drink. You dance. You chat (with friends and neighbors.) The whole thing is social. It’s all family style.
“Thanks to Spyder for getting this started,” he said. “(To cook the shrimp), we use (Spyder’s) pot, which he hasn’t seen back for six years. It’s a great community event.”
Patrons will enjoy live music by the Gumbo Boogie Band, as they feast on shrimp, fried catfish, oysters, andouille sausages, muffalettas, crawfish corn dogs and other Cajun favorites served on newspaper-covered tables.
The buffet costs $34.50, and reservations are required.
Klauber said everything will be homemade at Polo Grill, except for the Bourque’s classic Cajun boudin, a special sausage that is being imported from Louisiana for the event.
“It’s very unique,” Klauber said of boudin. “It’s not like anywhere else in the world I’ve had. I would not attempt to (make it). They’re some things that are best made by the people who have made them generationally.”
This year’s menu also will feature crawfish for the first time.
“That will be a real treat,” Broussard said.
As a business owner, Broussard began holding crawfish boils for his employees and select customers in 1984, before a scheduled technical conference. Customers enjoyed it so much they began to request it. By Broussard’s retirement in 1995, he had gone from boiling 100 pounds of crawfish to 5,000 pounds for the event.
He and his wife, Frances, moved to Sarasota a few years after Klauber and Broussard’s niece, Jaymie, married. As the families began enjoying Cajun dinners together, Tommy Klauber remembered his first crawfish boil in Louisiana in the late 1970s. When he pitched the idea of throwing a Louisiana-style event at the restaurant, Broussard was eager get involved. The two have boiled shrimp together at the event since its inception.
IF YOU GO
Spyder Broussard Low Country, East County Fish Fry & Shrimp Boil
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 29
Where: Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
Cost: $34.50 for adults, plus tax, cost of drinks and gratuity
Details: Buffet dinner, live music by the Gumbo Boogie Band, dancing and socializing. Drink specials offered. Reservations required.
Sample menu: Bourque’s classic Cajun boudin, muffalettas, Zatarain’s boiled shrimp with sweet corn and Andouille sausage, ratatouille, coleslaw, crawfish corn dogs, gumbo, beignets du monde and more.
Reservations: Call 782-0899, Ext. 2
Contact Pam Eubanks at email@example.com.