Alton’s Gumbo 2 Geaux celebrates Cajun culture, food

Alton’s Gumbo 2 Geaux celebrates Cajun culture, food

ALTON — Authentic Cajun kitchen Gumbo 2 Geaux is the closest anyone will get to New Orleans in this River City.

Gumbo 2 Geaux, at 1808 Washington Ave., in the heart of Upper Alton, is owned by Troy and Kyndra Green, who went to Roxana High School. Both of the Greens grew up in or around Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but Kyndra Green moved to Roxana when she was in seventh grade. Two days after graduation she moved back to attend Louisiana State University, where she met her husband. 

The Greens opened Gumbo 2 Geaux last October in Alton. Its menu is at where it lists daily specials. Fat Tuesday is next week but Saturday Gumbo 2 Geaux will have fun specials in honor of Mardi Gras.

On Sunday, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.,Gumbo 2 Geaux will be at Flock, 210 Ridge St., at Landmarks Boulevard, serving gumbo, red beans and rice and king cake, until sold out. This is a treat because the restaurant is closed on Sunday.

On Sunday, March 12, Gumbo 2 Geaux will be featured at Jacoby Arts Center’s Jazz Brunch along with live music from the Alton High School Jazz Combo. Tickets cost $30 per person and are available at Gumbo 2 Geaux will be serving a grits bar, king cake and more.

The restaurant hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; it’s closed Sunday. Starting March 1, the restaurant will be extending its hours to 8 p.m.

“I am a Cajun woman,” Kyndra Green said. “We lost everything in a flood in 2016, from a low-pressure system that did not move for two days. That’s why I felt compelled to take our culture to a safer area.

“The reality is a lot of people cannot evacuate because of their circumstances, and I feel like, if you can, preserve it,” she said. “From South Louisiana, we are capable of carrying that in our heart, in our soul, wherever we go. Our restaurant has not only become a destination for authentic Cajun food, but it has become active preservation for Cajun culture.”

The Greens decided to come back to Illinois to start over. They moved with their first born, Theodore James, 7, while they were pregnant with their second child, William Oliver, 6, who is the only member of the family born in Alton, and not in South Louisiana.

“He’s our little Alton boy,” his mother said.

When COVID happened, and restaurants closed, folks were asking Green to make her granny Linda Cormier’s gumbo recipe. That’s when they got the idea and established the goal to buy a business and sell the gumbo to go.

“My grandma is very important to me,” Green said. “She is the literal reason I am who am and know what I know, not just in food. but in life.”

Green even shared the basis of her grandmother’s gumbo recipe.

“My entire life, my grandma said, ‘Kyndra, if you have good quality meat, and good quality onion and bell pepper, just salt and (cayenne) pepper, just focus on the meat with good salt and good pepper, that is what makes Cajun food truly Cajun food.’ That is why, when it’s prepared correctly, it is delicious.”

She describes Gumbo 2 Geaux as “authentic Cajun, not perfect Cajun.”

“It’s very subjective,” she said. “You can go five miles north, south, east, or west of Lafayette, and the gumbo will be different, depending on whose granny made it.”

She also shared that people fail at Cajun food when they use too much, too many different spices, when salt and cayenne pepper are sufficient.

“That is where the mistake is made,” she said.

“We love and appreciate this community so much,” Kyndra Green said. “Y’all keep us busy and we are happy to be here serving y’all! Hopefully this helps some of you who have been trying to get in and try our food. Keep it up and I’m more than happy to extend our hours once again for summer..

“Y’all enjoy this sunshine today,” she added. “Spring is coming – just a slice of what’s on the way.”

For more information, follow Gumbo 2 Geaux’s Facebook page.