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Cajun Courage

KINGWOOD — Kingwood business man Cory Harper said faith and good friends  helped his business survive COVID. 

Harper owns Cat Daddy’s Ragin’ Cajun Cafe on South Price Street in Kingwood.

He opened the business  Nov. 3.

“I had questions and fears about starting a business during the pandemic,” Harper said. “But being a Christian, when the opportunity came up I just took it and rolled with it. My wife, Elaina, gave me extra support and wouldn’t let me back out.”

“We’ve have some issues due to the pandemic,” he said. “We had to take out some of our tables to meet the 6-foot mandate, and we required masks and followed the guidelines.”

Harper said he still has some vendor problems and deals with rising prices.

“Everything is on back order so now I’m doing a lot of ordering online,” he said. “We have to frequently change our cooking oil. Prior to COVID it cost between $25 and $30 every time we changed in. Now it’s over $50. We have to keep it fresh.”

inside cat daddys
Cat Daddy’s owner Cory Harper (right) stands inside his Kingwood eatery with employee Vicki Stonebreaker. Harper, a native of Louisiana, braved risky business conditions to open his Cajun restaurant.

Harper said when he first started his business, his daughter and her friends helped out until they had to go back to college.

“Kim Hartman said she would help me out,” he said. “She recommended her sisters, Vicki Stonebreaker and Ellen Lee. These ladies made a difference. They are good people.”

Harper said  his daughters Addison Harper, Halley Romero and his son Ethan Harper still help out.

Harper was born in Carencro, La., and worked in his cousin’s restaurant while he was in high school. After graduating, he went to work in the oil fields.

He said when he injured his arm and was laid off, he came to Preston County 

“Cajun is my background and roots,” Harper said. “A lot of people claim Cajun (cooking) and they follow recipes. I grew up with it. That makes a difference. I learned to cook from my parents and grandparents. They were always cooking when we got together and I helped,” he said.

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity. When I moved up here  I didn’t know what to expect,” Harper said. “I’ve met good people up here and feel blessed to cook for them. I’m looking forward to my first Buckwheat Festival. I tell people to come by and try it (Cajun food) out. Cajun doesn’t always mean pepper.” 

Hours are 11 a.m-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday  and closed Sunday and Monday. Specials every Friday can be found on Facebook. Call in orders for take out at 337-216-1695

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Corey Harper owner of Cat Daddys on Price Street in Kingwood stirs chili for burgers, with spices in the foreground.
Corey Harper sprinkles one of his spices on chicken.