Bourbon n' Toulouse turns to community for help ahead of busy football weekend

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Posted at 1:41 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 18:31:13-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Bourbon n’ Toulouse is gearing up for a busy weekend with the Kentucky Wildcats up against the LSU Tigers in the first home game since 2007.

The Cajun restaurant is offering tailgating specials with alligator etouffee as the specialty item.

“We’re expecting such a big crowd this weekend we actually cooked 60 gallons of alligator etouffee,” said owner Kevin Heathcoat. “In 2007 we broke our sales record and beat LSU, so we’re hoping to repeat.”

But it’s been a scramble to get ready because of supply chain disruptions and shortages.

“It turns out the supply chain and the labor shortages are actually worse for our industry than the beginning of the pandemic. We’re all in this industry just trying to survive and beg our customers to be understanding and patient with us,” Heathcoat said.

Managers have been trying to order chafing buffet stands to serve their tailgating packages for weeks. They depleted their original supply during the Kentucky vs. Florida game last week.

“They just don’t show up on trucks,” Heathcoat said.

On Wednesday, the restaurant put a call for help on social media, asking anyone with extra chafing stands to bring them to their Chevy Chase location.

“We’re desperate & would love to trade you food for your catering stands!!!” the post read.

“Within a few minutes we already had them coming in and my phone just blew up,” Heathcoat said. “We started this week with eight in-house and now we’re up to about 200.”

Heathcoat estimates Bourbon n’ Toulouse needs approximately 300 racks to get them through the weekend.

The restaurant is offering free food to anyone willing to help them out by dropping off any amount of racks.

“I think we’ll make it,” Heathcoat said. “Lexington as a whole has really stepped up for our community and been so supportive for the last two years and kept many restaurants alive. I just want to say thank you to Lexington for my industry. You’ve been huge for us.”

Alligator etouffee is on the menu Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.