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The Bayou, shuttered in North Bellmore, to reopen at R.S. Jones space in Merrick

Gumbo and cornbread at The Bayou restaurant in

Gumbo and cornbread at The Bayou restaurant in Bellmore.  Credit: Jeremy Bales

In November, Long Island lost its oldest Cajun restaurant, The Bayou, which opened in North Bellmore in 1986. The reason, said owner Lisa Livermore, was the rising costs of doing business — rent, food, labor. Then last month, the owners of R.S. Jones, Merrick’s venerable Cajun-Southern restaurant, announced their intention to close the restaurant on April 13, citing extreme exhaustion after 26 years of slinging gumbo and pecan pies.

Well, the Louisiana voodoo gods must be smiling on Nassau County because a deal has been struck between Livermore and R.S. Jones’s Carole Olkoski and Margaret Mueller: After a brief interval, Livermore and a new partner, Staci Tucci, will reopen in the R.S. Jones space. The name of the new venture: Bayou Jones. 

“I really did want to take a break from the restaurant business,” Livermore said. “But this seemed like an opportunity I could not pass up.” She figures it will take no more than two months to do some light repairs and renovations.

There has long been an association between the two eateries: Olkoski and Mueller both got their start at The Bayou, whose founder, Kathleen Leskody, helped the two women open R.S. Jones in 1993.

The last year has been a tumultuous one for Cajun restaurants on Long Island. In addition to the Bayou, Storyville closed in Huntington and Big Daddy’s East lasted less than six months in Bay Shore. (On the plus side of the equation, Top Hat Oyster Bar & French Quarter Kitchen opened in Bellmore in November.)

We’ll keep you updated on Bayou Jones’ reopening date. In the meantime, you have until April 13 to dine at R.S. Jones at 153 Merrick Ave., Merrick, 516-378-7177, rsjones.com.

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