This month, Thrive introduces a new monthly travel section featuring day trips to a variety of communities in and around Southwest Louisiana. We want our readers to be tourists in their own backyard and discover the many attractions, restaurants, and retail shops found in these small but exciting communities. First up, take a day trip to Sulphur!
Planning a road trip along the Creole Nature Trail? Adventure Point is the best place to launch your marshland journey. This unique visitors’ center is especially geared to kids, with exciting activities to introduce the whole family to the culture of Southwest Louisiana. Listen to Cajun music and pretend you are part of the band.
Imagine you’re hidden in a duck blind, hunting ducks in the marsh. Smell the mouth-watering aromas of Cajun and Creole cooking. Explore the wildlife of Southwest Louisiana – alligators, nutria, and birds, to name a few. The knowledgeable staff can answer questions and offer maps and helpful brochures. Visit the gift shop for souvenirs.
2740 Ruth St. in Sulphur
Sulphur Parks and Recreation (SPAR) Waterpark offers a fun day in the sun for all ages. This wild and wet destination has been expanded over the past two years, offering even more slides, sprays, splashes, and spouts. There’s a 600-foot long Raging River, Larry’s Lazy River, and the Lagoon Pool. Younger guests will enjoy Patch’s Splash Pad and Splash and Play Island, with fountains, tipping buckets, small-scale slides, and a gigantic yellow bucket that dumps 500 gallons of water every two minutes. The park also features plenty of areas to catch some rays or relax in the shade. Lockers, food, and beverages available.
Opens mid-May. 933 W. Parish Rd., Sulphur.
Curioddities Art Show
See a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland exhibit on the second floor with costumes and immersive art displays. Each room has a different setting from the book with over 100 art pieces. The downstairs gallery holds the ‘oddities’ portion of the exhibit, including many taxidermy pieces on loan from the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, a life-sized sasquatch, family heirlooms from the private collection of Nina Vincent, and more beautiful artwork from local and international artists. This show has 45 exhibiting artists and over 200 art pieces and items to see.
Through March 10.
CLOSING RECEPTION for Curioddities Art Show
You’re invited to the Mad Hatter’s tea party! Enjoy an evening of browsing the exhibit, hear gallery talks from artists featured in the show, and meet and take photos with the Mad Hatter himself! This is a costume-themed event, so wear your best tea party or wonderland attire and support the arts in style! Snacks and beverages provided by the Brimstone Museum.
March 10, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Poetry Night at the Henning House with Open Mic
This is an evening of literary delights, free coffee & hot cocoa, and the chance to share our works and writings with like-minded individuals. The intimate setting makes for a beautiful evening. Any poet or writer may sign up to attend/read. There is no age limit, anyone may read something they’ve written or the works of someone whom they admire.
March 3, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Chess Tournament and Casual play with Casa de Ajedrez
Play chess or Puerto Rican Dominos with Chess instructor Andy Rivera from Casa de Ajedrez. Don’t know how to play chess? Now is a great opportunity to learn, surrounded by art and culture. Chess sets & dominos provided.
March 5, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
OPENING RECEPTION for the Talented Arts Program Exhibit
Calcasieu Parish schools will feature student artwork from the talented arts program from March 17 – April 21. Student work ranges across a broad array of subject matter and includes many ceramic pieces.
March 17, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Henning Cultural Center is located at 923 Ruth St., Sulphur. Hours are Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – noon, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
by Angie Kay Dilmore
Jamison Trouth opened his vodka distillery in 2017. Yellowfin Vodka was well-received by the Southwest Louisiana community and quickly became a statewide favorite. By 2019, despite only selling a single product, Trouth says his company was doing very well. “Per a six-month Nielsen consumer research report, we were the number six vodka in the state for our category behind Tito’s, Absolut, Kettle One, Deep Eddy and Stoli. These brands all had multiple SKUs that went toward their totals. We had one.”
But then came 2020. “The COVID-19 pandemic completely destroyed our sales in 2020,” Trouth says. “We made sanitizer to help meet the demand in our area and we survived without assistance until Hurricane Laura. The storm caused electrical damage to some of our equipment due to power surges that kept our doors closed for over four months. We ran out of product, our distributor ran out of product, and then the shelves. But we made our repairs and reopened in January of 2021.”
During their downtime in 2020 and 2021, Trouth and his team experimented with oaking their original vodka. After much time and effort, they chose two recipes to produce. “Our Toasted version is light in color and character. It’s rested with American Oak toasted to different intensities ranging from light to dark. Our Charred version is darker in color and character. It’s rested with a range of toasted American Oak as well, but we also include charred oak in this recipe. I wouldn’t compare either of them directly to bourbon but the Charred version is definitely similar. One key difference is that neither contain coloring, artificial flavoring or sugar. They’re lower calorie options without sacrificing quality.” Trouth adds that most people enjoy both versions but usually everyone has a preference. In general, women gravitate toward the Toasted version. The same is true with men and the Charred version. Both of these unique products are currently available at the distillery.
What’s next for Yellowfin? Trouth is excited to announce his next spirit, Mahi Rum! Several versions will be released at the distillery in the coming months. Beyond that, he hopes to relocate his distillery to Lake Charles within the next couple years.
For now, Yellowfin Vodka is located at 1716 E Burton Street in Sulphur. Open 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Fridays. Trouth offers free tours and samples, and also sells apparel and other merchandise.
Small businesses, especially retail shops, often represent the priorities and values of the communities that support them. In Sulphur, retail represents family and a focus on the arts. Here’s a small sample of the shops you can visit.
Khoury’s Clothing offers specialty clothes and accessories for men and women. They offer popular name brands like Hey Dude shoes; Oakley, Costa, Maui Jim, and Ray Ban sunglasses; Sweet Grace – a line of fragrance items; Linden & London household products. In the women’s department, they sell jeans, tops, scarves, leggings, tunic tops and more. They carry a variety of work wear, jewelry, and a lot of this and that. They also rent tuxedos for proms and weddings. You never know what you might find at Khoury’s!
1531 E Napoleon St
Flock of Five Gift and Art Emporium is housed in the former Sulphur Post Office. They host 60 vendors, with wares made by painters, potters, quilters, jewelry makers, stained glass artists, mixed media designers, metal workers, photographers, soap and candlemakers, and other artisans. They specialize in Cajun and Louisiana-themed artwork.
217 E. Thomas St.
A business with a longstanding family legacy, Etie’s A Children’s Shoppe opened in 2018. Abbie Ferguson sells kids apparel from sizes preemie to youth XL, as well as toys, games, and books.
206 S. Huntington St.
The Harrington Gallery is a whimsical hidden gem representing local artists showcasing original oils, acrylics, watercolors, and fine art prints. In addition, the gallery also has a large selection of pottery, woodwork, and unique handmade artisan items. The gallery specializes in custom framing and restoration with an emphasis on one-of-a-kind creative design.
Stop by 210 Tamarack Street for a visit guaranteed to be charming and delightful!
by Danley Romero
Sulphur might not be very big, but it is home to a wide variety of restaurants serving a large selection of foods. Italian, Mexican, Japanese and Cajun options exist nearby treat stops with tempting snowballs, delicious baked goods and coffees. Crawfish to go, an old-fashioned burger with fries and a chocolate malt, barbecue and seafood buffets and so much more are all available in the City of Sulphur.
Joe’s Pizza and Pasta
Some of Joe’s Pizza and Pasta’s popular items include their chicken parmesan, cheese pizza, lasagna, and chicken fettuccine Alfredo, but their list of entrees goes on to include calzones, stromboli, chicken Romano, eggplant parmesan, veal marsala, seafood pasta dishes and other Italian dishes. Along with their meal, customers can enjoy delicious bread rolls and a variety of appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms, fried calamari, artichoke shrimp dip and caprese salad. Cannoli, tiramisu, and cheesecake are available for desserts.
Open Tuesday through Sunday. 1601 Ruth St
The Village Coffeehouse
The Village is a coffeehouse and bakery offering an assortment of teas, coffees, baked goods, smoothies and other drinks. Their savory options include sandwiches, avocado toast, breakfast burritos, bagels and cream cheese, garlic cheddar biscuits, chips and soups. The Village was opened in 2020 and is open every day except Sundays, when the space is available to be rented for events. Community values revolving around people, passion, justice, empathy, community and compassion are hallmarks for this business.
Find more information on their website.
121 S Huntington Street
Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant
Open Monday through Saturday, Rosita’s menu includes tacos, seafood, fajitas, soups, nachos, quesadillas, tortas, burritos, and more. Established in 2007, some of their Mexican plate options are classic staples like the enchiladas and flautas, while others, like the stuffed (and fried) avocado, are great options for anyone wanting to try something new. Desserts include ice creams, ice slushes, fruit sorbets, pops, and mangonadas.
2401 E Napoleon Street
Sake Japanese House
Sake Japanese House serves a wide variety of sushi as well as sashimi, teriyaki, tempura, udon, fried rice, lo mein, and hibachi options. Their lunch menu also offers bento boxes. With appetizers like gyoza, crab rangoon, edamame, fried calamari, soft shell crab, delicious volcano shrimp, and soup and salad options like miso soup and seaweed salad, Sake has something for everyone. They serve a variety of desserts, including mochi and green tea, vanilla or red bean ice creams, and offer an assortment of alcoholic drinks including red and white wines, beer (Japanese beer options are available) and, of course, sake!
Closed Mondays. 2245 Maplewood Drive.
Cody’s Crawfish Shop
Established in 2008 and serving food December through June, Cody’s Crawfish Shop is a drive-through selling purged crawfish and shrimp with potatoes, corn, mushrooms, sausage and Dat Dip sauce. There is a 30+ pound ice chest special for customers who bring their own ice chest. The menu is simple and the food is delicious!
500 Cypress Street
Dairy Barn is known for their old-fashioned hamburgers and sides like onion rings, fries, fried string beans and okra and more. Fresh-squeezed lemonade, shrimp burgers, poboys and BLTs, hot dogs, salads and dinner plates are also available. The atmosphere is fun and kid-friendly, with a train track that carries a miniature locomotive above the heads of customers. Their ice cream, shakes and malts are also popular.
2251 Maplewood Drive
Hollier’s Cajun Kitchen
Opened in 1995, some of Hollier’s popular items include jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and gumbo. They also serve marinated steaks, boudin, fried alligator, poboys, burgers and sandwiches, an assortment of seafood options, barbecue, and other Cajun dishes. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, and seafood buffets are available 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. They’re also well-known for their all-you-can-eat BBQ lunch buffet on Wednesdays.
1709 Ruth Street
PT’s Snowballs Coffee
and Ice Cream
Established way back in 1977, and renamed and rebranded in 2017, PT’s Snowballs, Coffee and Ice Cream has been serving sweet treats in Southwest Louisiana for decades. Open year-round, they have two drive-through windows as well as indoor and outdoor seating. PT’s serves a wide range of snowball flavors, with or without cream—cherry, sour blue raspberry, tiger’s blood, coconut, nectar, Georgia peach and margarita are just a few. Stuffed snowballs full of ice cream, hand-dipped Blue Bell cones, and loads of espresso-based coffees are also available.
2405 Maplewood Drive