Treebeards does lunch. Not the hasty post-modern “Let’s do lunch” but the leisurely traditional “Will you join me for lunch?” Inside the flagship Market Square location (315 Travis) in Houston, ceiling fans waft a breeze across baskets of fresh produce while customers queue up to peruse the possibilities: shrimp étouffée, red beans and rice, mustard greens, and a battery of other cajun specialties. First among equals are owner Dan Tidwell’s savory chicken- and-sausage gumbo—redolent of filé—and his jalapeño cornbread, so thick with creamed corn and cheddar cheese it could almost sustain life by itself. Other locations in the tunnel system (1100 Louisiana) and Christ Church Cathedral, Texas at Fannin.

Try this recipe for Cajuñ Gumbo and Jalapeño Cornbread from Treebeards, Houston.