ON THE MENU — Hamilton’s Restaurant and Bar is spot where gumbo hits the spot
Mike Hamilton and his late father opened Hamilton’s Restaurant and Bar near Central Mall in 2017 after they saw the building for sale. Ever since, Hamilton said the community has helped the eatery thrive and been supportive during the pandemic that struck the restaurant industry particularly hard.
“We just wanted to bring something new over here,” he said. “It has been working out great. Everyone out here loves it and loves us. We love being here.”
The eatery specializes in Cajun and seafood dishes like gumbo.
“I love everything on the menu,” Hamilton said. “Shoot, the gumbo is probably the best. Can’t get away from it. I try to get multiple different things throughout the week here. Most of the time, I end up coming back to the gumbo. Especially with this cold weather, you just want darn gumbo.”
The eatery also features a pistolette that is not made in a traditional way, Hamilton said.
“We don’t do the original, like a lot of people do with the etoufee in it,” he said. “We use the spicy shrimp dip. We deep fry it for about 35-40 seconds, cut it open and pour that shrimp dip in it, and it comes out outstanding. It’s a nice, crisp bread.”
He and his father Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton owned Tuffy’s and Catfish Kitchen for numerous years.
“This is the only thing I know how to do,” Hamilton said. “We transitioned from Catfish Kitchen and decided to open up this place. Ever since, it has been great.”
Hamilton said he has always had a general love for food.
“Seeing everyone come in happy and ordering, then, they have too much food on their plate and having to get a to-go box is good,” he said. “Making people happy makes me happy. It’s a good feeling.”
Like most restaurants, Hamilton’s adjusted to rules and restrictions handed down by local and state governments during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The community out here is beyond words,” he said. “They came out and started ordering to-go meals and didn’t care how bad the virus was. They came and helped us out. We had to move some things around and create a different atmosphere, but all in all, the community is the one that came out and said they wanted the food.”
Along with tasty food, Hamilton’s is known for the light atmosphere featuring live music and televisions with the night’s biggest games on display.
“We’re starting to get the live music back rolling and everything,” Hamilton said. “It’s still hard because we are trying to abide by all the rules. We are still trying our best and making sure we take care of everybody, too.”
Hamilton also said the rolls that come with each meal are a hit.
“They come with everything and they are amazing,” he said. “You can dip those things in the gumbo and it is phenomenal. We also have good chicken-fried steak and steak tenders.”
Hamilton said the eatery could soon find a home in Lumberton by way of expansion.
For those looking to stop by the Port Arthur location, Hamilton’s is located at 8460 Central Mall Drive.
The restaurant also offers curbside pickup and no-contact delivery. Call 409-724-0402.
Hours of operation
Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.