See ya later, alligator! | PostIndependent.com

See ya later, alligator!

Carrie Click
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Husband and wife, Paul Ferguson and Kristin Greenstreet, had their first "date" at The Bayou 13 years ago. The famous deck holds many fond memories for the couple and they were there for dinner and a cocktail Sunday evening to say farewell to the restaurant's old West Glenwood location.
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WEST GLENWOOD – Dr. Royal Smith sat at the end of a long table on The Bayou’s outdoor deck underneath the restaurant’s gigantic frog awning, a stuffed gray shark sitting on his lap.Just moments before, the large stuffed fish hung from the Cajun restaurant’s famed frog canopy, bulging eyes and green head looking out to the traffic and river below.But with a quick snip, Bayou owner Steven Beham cut the beast from the awning and presented it to one of his most loyal customers, Smith, a radiologist.Smith was one of a constant stream of people who came to West Glenwood Sunday night, as owner Steven Beham celebrated the final night of serving up Cajun food, drinks and plenty of good-humored sass at The Bayou’s locale on Highway 6&24. The restaurant is moving to 919 Grand Ave. next door to The Springs Theater, where plans are to have the new restaurant open by early December.”I want a fish, too!” said little Matthew Simonton sitting one table away from Smith, as Beham reached for another stuffed creature hanging from the canopy. “Matthew grew up here at The Bayou,” said Vern Simonton, Matthew’s mother and a former Bayou employee. “Steven’s his godfather.”

bayou: see page 2 bayou: from page 1At Matthew and Vern’s table out on the deck, other former Bayou employees such as Lex Carter and Rivers chef Mike Schlicher were on hand to celebrate the last night of the West Glenwood Bayou.”It’s very sad to see it go, but it’s also sad to see our scenery go,” said Carter, motioning across Interstate 70 and the Colorado River to the field of freshly scraped brown dirt where construction workers are clearing the Glenwood Meadows’ development site. “The scenery is going, so The Bayou is going. I wouldn’t want to sit here and look at that.” Greatly exaggerated?Beham was on the move Sunday night, greeting practically every single person by their first name as he cruised around the restaurant.

“Since I announced we were moving, probably two dozen former employees have shown up,” he said with a grin. “And they’ve all got their stories. About 50 percent I can verify, and the other 50 percent were just greatly exaggerated or I just don’t remember.” People got up from their tables to greet other diners, and relish one more night before a two-month Bayou-withdrawal.On one side of the deck, Kathryn Senor Elementary school counselor Kristin Greenstreet, her daughter Hannah Greenstreet and Kristin’s husband, teacher Paul Ferguson, also a Bayou alumnus, were having a final dinner at The Bayou.”Stick!” yelled Kristin, Paul and a couple other people as Riverside P.E. teacher Mike Stickler joined them on the deck. The Bayou holds good memories for all of them, hanging out and listening to live music, Paul said. Smith said he, his family and a group of fellow radiologists have been coming to The Bayou for years, and have been known to, shall we say, really enjoy themselves.”It’s been all in fun,” Smith said with a smile, Mardi Gras beads draped around his neck. “We closed the place down once, and were banned from the restaurant! When Steven printed up new menus, there was a caption on them that read, ‘Royal Smith and friends are not welcome.’ He did it as a joke.”

Happy BirthdayJoking around has always been part of The Bayou.One Bayou tradition that Beham said will continue at the new locale is what’s known as “getting pied.” Essentially, those having a birthday at The Bayou are the recipients of a rendition of “Happy Birthday” – badly off-key, Beham noted – and they get a pie in the face, complete with whipped cream.”Our son wanted to come to The Bayou for his birthday, just so he could get pied,” Smith said. Beham said in all the years of birthday pies, only two people got visibly upset.”Maybe other people got upset, but it’s hard to be mad when everyone’s laughing and you have whipped cream all over your face,” he said. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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