Jessie's Smokin' NOLA Finds a New Home in Parker | Westword

Jessie's Smokin' NOLA Finds a New Home in Parker

After moving out of Max Taps in Centennial last year, owner Jessie Rayford is ready to bring his Cajun eats back in a new location.
Jessie Rayford says this will be the last iteration of his restaurant.
Jessie Rayford says this will be the last iteration of his restaurant. Jessie's Smokin' NOLA/Facebook
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Jessie Rayford is ready to bring New Orleans eats to Denver once again — for the next six years, at least. "This is the last one for me," he says. "When the lease is up, I'm retiring."

He originally launched Jessie's Smokin' NOLA as a food truck, offering Cajun fare on wheels for more than five years. In 2019, he moved the business into a Centennial brick-and-mortar, but when that lease was up in 2022, he opted to close the place.

The plan was to retire, but "I got bored," he told Westword in February 2023, after reviving Jessie's Smokin' NOLA at the Centennial outpost of Max Taps.

Last October, he put the business on pause once again as he searched for a space of his own. He finally found it farther south, signing on for a six-year lease.
click to enlarge oyster po'boy
An oyster po'boy from Jessie's.
Jessie's Smokin' NOLA
Jessie's Smokin's NOLA will open at 11061 South Parker Road in Parker within a few weeks, if all goes as planned. The space was recently home to the Taco Company, which closed its doors on April 7. "It's pretty big, it's nice," says Rayford, who's now focused on "cleaning it up." He's looking for a handyman to help with various projects, bringing in a plumber and giving the space a fresh paint job.

The new Jessie's will be a fast-casual concept with a full bar. Rayford says he will bring back customer favorites such as po'boys, jambalaya, gumbo and fried seafood, and also add some lighter options, like salads and grilled and blackened meats.

He plans to stay open late on Fridays and Saturdays and will be offering happy-hour specials. "Rent is very high," he admits — double what he was paying in Centennial. "I still believe in giving customers a good price," he adds.

"This is my last go-round," Rayford concludes. But while it lasts, let the good times roll.
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